Mental health challenges impact all Albertans directly or indirectly. In rural and remote areas of Alberta, residents face additional barriers such as scarcity, cost, and effectiveness when it comes to accessing mental health services.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta Division (CMHA AB) has received a grant to develop and maintain an Alberta Rural Mental Health Network, as well as support 150 rural Alberta communities in developing community mental health action plans. Anchoring the CMHA’s project is the development of the Community Mental Health Action Plans through a community engagement process by local community members and elders, agencies, educators, and community associations. These plans will identify existing services, community strengths and opportunities, promising practices, and a set of key strategic activities to consider over the next three years and beyond.
Ultimately, the Rural Mental Health Network will connect local Community Animators across Alberta. Together, Animators can learn and share, while drawing on their collective experience to identify existing capacity, systemic issues, and common themes in the rural mental health and community wellness landscape. Working together, communities can create new or better pathways to access existing corridors of care. Through the Network, community-based services and approaches can be better utilized to equip rural and remote communities to continue to meet mental health and addiction needs across the province.
There is a clear need for communities to collaborate across the province on existing solution-focused promising practices related to rural mental health and wellness, as well as identifying gaps and potential collective approaches.
RhPAP is proud to be a member of the project Advisory Council and will provide updates on the initiative as they come from the Council discussions.