Perhaps the greatest challenge faced by mental health organizations is to ensure no one slips through the system due to lack of awareness, services, programs or funding. Your ongoing contributions help us fill the gaps, from early interventions to acute care. At a time when even the most basic activities have been disrupted, your support is more important than ever.

How Albertans are Feeling

*based on a survey of 6,000 Albertans at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

of respondents reported moderate to high stress.

met criteria for moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder

expressed anxiety about contamination with germs since the pandemic began

stated they washed their hands excessively since the pandemic began

Message from the Board

Right up to mid-March things seemed relatively normal.

The Mental Health Foundation team was working full throttle finalizing details of our signature fund raising event, our annual breakfast. Programs were printed, guests invited, the stage set and scripts written and rehearsed. All but the bacon was frying. We were ready to go… although searching frantically for a supply of hand sanitizer.

On March 10, with COVID-19 cases rising and growing awareness of the pandemic in our midst, we cancelled the next day event.

A big decision for a small organization. It was the right thing to do.

Within weeks, patterns changed. The world moved online to virtual mediums, masks became essential accessories and front line workers were hailed as heroes.

While the physical impacts of the pandemic are tragic and shocking, the mental impacts have only begun to be seen. Alongside stark reminders to limit spread of the virus, we’ve witnessed growing awareness and increasing concern regarding the pervasive and long-term implications for our mental health.

A crisis can clarify vision, highlight knowledge gaps and motivate purposeful action. It can unite community in pursuit of a common goal and a shared refrain. With COVID-19 the message is, “We’ll get through this, together.”

Recognizing the urgent need and supported by our passionate donors, the Mental Health Foundation moved to action. You helped us launch Text4Hope, a virtual mental health service accessed by almost 50,000 Albertans, only two weeks into lockdown. The concept has caught on encouraging a growing suite of targeted virtual text tools addressing the specific mental health needs of youth, those with cancer, and those with substance use issues.

Thanks to you, the Foundation continued to support vital initiatives like Access 24/7. By the end of its first year, the centre fielded more than 70,000 calls and served almost 20,000 clients in person. Beyond individual clients at the centre, family members now have increased access to the information they need to support their loved ones through family peer support services.

Donor contributions have also allowed the Foundation to expand its support to research projects dedicated to improving outcomes for patients. These include EMDR therapy for youth, exercise-based interventions, and enhanced clinical services incorporating brain stimulation. Research results will help advance treatments.

COVID-19 has required us all to pivot. We continue to support the advancement of Integrated Youth Services in Alberta, for now in virtual form. Seeing the urgent need for remote services, the development of online tools for youth has been accelerated. A brand, website, and virtual services will be launched in coming weeks.

The Mental Health Foundation does more than talk about its vision of an accessible, easy-to-navigate and fully integrated addictions and mental health care system in Alberta. With your help, we’re building it.

Perhaps the greatest challenge faced by mental health organizations is to ensure no one slips through the system due to lack of awareness, services, programs or funding. Your ongoing contributions help us fill the gaps, from early interventions to acute care. At a time when even the most basic activities have been disrupted, your support is more important than ever.

You’ve helped us deliver high impact services that make a difference in the lives of Albertans. We need to do more, the time to act is now and your investment will have an impact.

Thank you for your support.

Mary Pat Barry
Board Chair, Mental Health Foundation

Hand holding a phone


How a tool to support mental health got launched two weeks into a crisis

In an effort to support the mental health of Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mental Health Foundation helped Alberta Health Services launch a supportive text message program in late March.

Thanks to the quick action of community supporters, the program was launched within one week of conception, helping thousands of Albertans in need of mental health support during an unprecedented crisis. In the first week of service, over 30,000 subscribers had signed up to the program, and the number continues to grow.

In May, Text4Hope expanded to include supportive messaging for those with cancer or struggling with substance use.

Residents of Alberta can subscribe to a program targeted to their needs.

Each subscriber receives free three months of daily supportive text messages crafted by a team of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health therapists and mental health service users.

Stressed, Anxious, Depressed? Text COVID19HOPE to 393939
Struggling with substances in isolation? Text OPEN2CHANGE to 393939
Struggling with your cancer diagnosis in isolation? Text CANCERCARE to 393939

Partnerships in the community are vital to strengthening impact and speeding up delivery.

At a pivotal moment in history, these organizations quickly rallied together to support their community through Text4Hope.

Launched two weeks into the pandemic, Text4Hope is a new mobile tool to support Albertans’ mental health.

When bad things happen that we can’t control, we often focus on the things we can’t change. Focus on what you can control; what can you do to help yourself (or someone else) today?

Within a week of lockdown, local organizations rallied together to donate $498,375 to get Text4Hope off the ground.

Simple measures can help.

Even the daily reassurance provided by Text4Hope.

After 6 weeks, anxiety levels in subscribers fell by 20 per cent.

Research from Text4Hope will help inform crisis
response in the future


papers in publication


manuscripts in pre-print
(awaiting peer review)


in submission

This program demonstrated significant reduction in anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and could be used as a population level mental health intervention during natural disasters and other emergencies.

Residents of Alberta can subscribe to the program by texting “COVID19HOPE” to 393939. A free service, each subscriber receives three months of daily supportive text messages crafted by a team of clinical staff.

Finding Balance One Text at a Time

When COVID-19 started dominating the news in March, Sharon Loveridge found the situation difficult to process. The virus was still not well understood, and she began to struggle with intrusive thoughts. Her biggest fear was for her health and the health of her family, particularly her 94-year-old mother who lives in her home. “I just wanted to cocoon away from it,” said Sharon.

Hand holding a phone

Trying to educate herself about the virus often resulted in additional fear. Descriptions of patients being intubated haunted her; she worried it would happen to her.

As she realized how widespread the disruption to normal life would be, she became concerned about the ramifications of staying home. Her job required her to go out into the community to see clients face-to-face; she worried she wouldn’t be able to perform from home. There seemed to be no respite from the turmoil.

“There was a consensus of worry and fear, not only of the virus, but about what would happen to the economy and our jobs,” says Sharon. “The future felt uncertain.”

When Dr. Deena Hinshaw mentioned a new program called Text4Hope during her daily briefing to Albertans, Sharon subscribed immediately.

The daily message became a way to find balance amidst chaos. Says Sharon, “It helped me center myself by focusing on one goal every day for my mental health. I’d open it, read it, and then create a plan to achieve it throughout my day.”

Sharon found that each day’s message was specific, which made it easier to accomplish. During the powerlessness of early lockdown, waiting for answers, it gave Sharon a sense of control. “It felt like there was something I could do every day to assert power over my own life, the power to control how I reacted in a strange situation,” Sharon explains.

Sharon’s now back to work in the community, and feels safer as a result of clear community guidelines to reduce spread. Months later, she’s still grateful for Text4Hope saying, “I learned a lot, I formed good habits and coping skills.”

And she knows she can access her Text4Hope tools when she feels worried. “They’re on my phone, and I can look back at past messages when I need them.”

Access 24-7 Launch

Addiction and Mental Health Access 24/7

Access 24/7 is providing in-person assessments, crisis outreach and stabilization around the clock, every day of the year. Individuals requiring mental health and addiction supports are provided with walk-in, phone and outreach services, including information and referrals; support for individuals and families to navigate Alberta Health Services (AHS) and community services; consults to community providers; intervention and treatment.

June 17, 2020, marked the one-year anniversary of doors opening at Access 24/7.

The Mental Health Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation are truly grateful for your support in improving access and compassionate care for Edmonton's communities.

We are proud to share the impact your generosity has made over the past year.


unique clients were seen at Access 24/7 from June 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020 for a Total of 67,219 appointments.


calls were received at the Access 24/7 call centre from June 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020.

*Note: Quarters are based on calendar year, e.g., Q1 refers to January through March. Q2 numbers were down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Note: Breakdown is based on 72,791 calls placed from June 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020. The Call Centre receives 400+ calls/month from partner programs that are not captured in this data. (PACT, RPACT, CREMS)

Family peer support worker

Access 24/7 is supported by a team of mental health therapists, nurses, addiction counsellors, social workers, peer support workers, family peer support workers, psychiatrists, pharmacists, support staff, protective services and EMS, as well as community supports from the Edmonton Police Service and RCMP.

Peer support worker and call center clinician PACT Team

The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation have supported the salaries of Peer Support Workers and Family Peer Support Workers at Access 24/7 through our fundraising activities. Donor support directly helps us fund these crucial roles.

Peer Support at Access 24/7 has enhanced the client experience over the past 14 months and resulted in positive outcomes by welcoming, engaging and providing support to walk-in individuals. Peers come with various backgrounds, knowledge and experiences and develop different practices. To help support and guide their work peers participate monthly in the Peer Practice Council.

Family Peers have been embedded within Walk in Services, Crisis Intervention and Stabilization Services within the Access 24/7 program. Family Peers engage families who present to Access 24/7 for walk in services and accompany mental health professionals out in the community to support family when their loved one is in crisis or needs further assessment. Family Peers also receive referrals from the call centre when a family/loved one calls and speaks with a clinician. Family Peers may get involved immediately with families or they can provide a follow up call the next day. The Family Peer provides support over the phone or arranges an appointment to see them face to face at either Access 24/7 or within the community. The Family Peer role has been extremely valuable and they have been able to empower family members, provide education and look at support for themselves as caregivers.

Patient experiences and evidence-based research have shown that Peer Support Workers and Family Peer Support Workers are invaluable in sharing knowledge, providing comfort to patients and their family members, and helping them to successfully navigate the mental health care system.

“On behalf of Access 24/7, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our donors for the contributions you have provided to make this service a reality for the Edmonton zone and surrounding communities. By working together, and challenging the system, we are making the journey easier to navigate.”

Pam Coulson, Director, Urgent and Intensive Services Addiction and Mental Health, Edmonton Zone

Individuals in the Edmonton Zone can reach Access 24/7 at 780-424-2424.
The line is always open.

Mental Health learning group

Breaking the Silence

Socially-distanced and smashing stigma

Breaking the Silence is a free annual event organized by volunteers where community members move, engage, and learn about mental health together.

You can raise money in your own community, too, benefiting the Mental Health Foundation. Reach out to Amber Benders to learn more at

Partnering with CASA Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation, the volunteer-led committee behind Breaking the Silence launched a reimagined event online from June 20th to 27th.

“Our team felt it was important to persevere and get creative,” says cofounder Jag Atwal. “If we’ve learned anything from the past few months, it’s that having the right tools and support for our mental health is more important than ever. We wanted to help provide that to the community.”

Instead of a collective 5km walk, participants were encouraged to get out and move on their own for at least an hour throughout the week. On social media, attendees enthusiastically shared encouraging messages and their journeys, walking, running, biking, and even rollerblading to meet their personal or fundraising goals.

Meanwhile, over 20 virtual mental health sessions streamed live over the course of the week, led by community experts Recorded versions of many of the sessions can be found here. Though physically distant, participants could connect online from afar.

With over 1,000 individuals registered to walk and join virtual sessions, attendance stayed strong despite the event’s online pivot. Incredibly, funds raised during the 2020 event, $80,000 in total, quadrupled past years’ efforts. While revealing the capacity of the community to come together during a crisis, the success of this year’s event also revealed the need to include accessible online options for future events; many participants noted that attending in person was not an option for them due to mental illness or geography.

Amidst a pandemic during which over half of surveyed Canadians reported worsened mental health, 2020 has been an important reminder for the Breaking the Silence team of why they founded this event 6 years ago: to honour the life of a friend lost to suicide and to provide the community the education they never had.

Says Raju Virk, one of the event’s co-founders, “We had no idea our friend was struggling. It’s said that 1 in 5 people are touched by mental illness, but we never thought losing a friend to suicide would happen to us.”

“We want to show people that there is help available. There is hope.”

Raju Virk, cofounder

In crisis, the community pulled together.

For the first time individuals from not just Edmonton, but across Alberta (and even internationally), could participate. The expanded scope led to new connections made with mental health organizations across the province, allowing funds raised during the week to stay in each participant’s own community.

Partners in Mental Health Across Alberta


free virtual
mental health sessions


raised for
6 partner organizations

across Alberta


and 78 teams


attendees of virtual mental health sessions


Impressions and 8.3K Engagements online

*Edmonton Community Foundation and Calgary Foundation each provided $10K in matching funds for organizations participating in Breaking the Silence in Edmonton and Calgary.

Family peer support worker

Going the extra mile.

Some participants took the challenge to move throughout the week to the next level. Ten brave individuals rallied together—some from outside Alberta—to #cover100 over the seven-day event; 100 kilometers, that is! One enthusiastic participant travelled the entire distance on roller blades.

Said one of the participants, “My attempt to #cover100 is for all those people, much like myself, who have found themselves in a place, sometimes multiple times, where it feels that there is only one way out. It’s for all the people that are walking these streets with that weight on their shoulders, a very heavy weight. You are all amazing, strong, worthy, and you all belong.”

Mental illness transcends borders. Through Breaking the Silence, so did mental health advocacy. Cameron Atwal from Leeds, England decided he would run seven half marathons in seven days for Breaking the Silence after hearing about the event from his Canadian family.

Says Cameron, “In the recent pandemic I have had a lot of time to think about the most important things in life and had time to reflect on different issues that are going on in the world every day. I am a huge advocate for mental health and for everyone being equal in this world and always being kind. Mental Health is an extremely big issue in this world and I believe there are many people out there that need help and support.”

Through sun and rain, Cameron hit the road each morning to inspire support for mental health in his community. His final half marathon ended in front of his home, with Cameron surrounded by his proud friends and family. His efforts raised £1,200 for a local mental health charity, Leeds Mind.

As we all collectively manage isolation and disruptions to daily life, it’s easy to forget we’re all in this together. Through Breaking the Silence, we were proud to witness how powerful each person can be when they come together in community.

Says participant Tony Brar, “Let’s keep making strides to end the stigma. It’s okay not to be okay. Each step everyone took as part of #cover100 was a step for anyone struggling, a step for better tomorrow.”

Our sincere thanks to all who participated.

VIDEO | Breaking the silence

In memory of Surjan Singh Sanghera.

Surjan and friends

More Good Days

Taking the lead from young people. Integrated Youth Services prepares to launch it's brand, website, and virtual clinic.

The Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative (AB-IYSI) is transforming how young people access care in our province.

While we all physically distance, the team is focusing on creating services that help young people and caregivers virtually, from tools to increase health literacy and support improved wellness, to a virtual clinic offering live support.

PLAY VIDEO | Hearing from youth

More Good Days: An Online Hub for Young People

The website is designed to meet the needs of Alberta’s young people, provide information and resources, and an individual experience that’s customized to meet the unique interests of each visitor. Setting small goals helps young people achieve big ones. The new website aims to help young people have more good days than bad ones, whatever that means for them. It will:


Create an empathetic and supportive environment for young people


Leave youth feeling inspired and empowered


Connect youth with the tools and resources they need

Virtual Services

Launching late 2020

Text4Hope for young people Created in collaboration with a young people advisory committee.

Virtual Clinic for young people Remote support in real time.

Website will offer additional interactive features, including a chat bot and virtual toolkit.

Engaging young people in planning ensures new services are tailored to their needs.

An online survey captured the thoughts of 132 participants (50 caregivers and 82 young people).

196 organizations/groups across Alberta were consulted.

This initiative would not be possible without the passionate support of our partners

Jenny Li photo for story

Through the Voices of Young People

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of mental health. Young people, particularly, are living in a weird limbo where everything-school, work, and the ability to access resources has been disrupted. Amidst social distancing, working and learning from home, and managing the stress of an uncertain year, Jenny Li is one of more than 150 young people and family members who have helped develop a new brand and website for the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative.

Honestly, engaging in this initiative was definitely the highlight of my pandemic. I’m totally on board. It’s really about value and being heard. When you’ve spent most of your life in the shadow or as a fly on the wall wondering if you’re worth it, having someone who is willing to engage you in discussion is just brilliant. I feel like I’m respected, maybe for the first time in a really long time.”

Jenny Li

In April this year, Jenny Li received a message from the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative (AB-IYSI) team after being recognized for their* advocacy as a member of (*Jenny identifies as gender nonbinary and uses the pronouns they/them). Jenny was asked to help guide development of a new set of youth mental health services in Alberta.

Jenny hadn’t heard of the initiative before, but was familiar with the Integrated Youth Services model having written a paper on ACCESS Open Minds for a sociology course.

“It’s about young people taking the lead and helping other young people feel at home,” says Jenny. “It’s like a rec centre or library, but for young people to get any kind of help they need. It will provide walk-in services for youth who may be struggling with their mental health, accessible before they’re in crisis; free resources to remove financial barriers. It’s a community center where youth and families can go in and out without a huge wait.”

“It sounded like a super cool initiative and I wanted to be part of it.”

For Jenny, finding mental health support has always gone hand in hand with advocacy work.

Growing up in an abusive home and harassed at school, Jenny experienced deep, depressive moods and suicidal ideation. When they discovered the advocacy community at age 16, Jenny found the kind of support that had been missing in other areas of their life. Members from the community understood Jenny. It was a safe place to turn to for help. Almost all had personal experience of mental health struggles, mental illness or of supporting a loved one with mental illness.

”I thought my situation was normal and deserved for most of my life. Learning that other people shared my experiences was eye-opening. They taught me that I deserved to feel good.”

Jenny quickly began advocating on behalf of young people in Calgary, founding the Free Your Mind society in the last year of highschool.

Things really began shifting for Jenny at University. Jenny moved to the east coast, their first experience leaving home. A self-described extrovert, Jenny made it their mission to connect with new groups.

“As soon as I finished moving on campus,” says Jenny, “I actively sought out mental health initiatives that I could join.”

That first week, Jenny made a personal connection with a counselor at one of the university’s mental health-oriented events. The counselor was welcoming and treated Jenny like an individual; his friendliness persuaded Jenny to pursue treatment and try talk therapy.

Though Jenny’s journey to find further mental health resources was filled with obstacles - long wait lists, difficulty accessing records between provinces, and bouncing between doctors - the positive experience of meeting that counselor had an impact. Unlike Jenny’s family or former teachers at school, the counselor understood Jenny’s struggles and actively advocated for Jenny to receive support.

When we think of Integrated Youth Services, Jenny’s experience is what we hope to give Alberta’s young people, every time. A place to go where they are understood, trusted and welcomed. Young people are at a unique juncture of life, new to navigating the adult world as they pursue independence as well as health services. Spaces need to be available for them to receive age-appropriate care, withservices recognizable and easy to find.

While COVID-19 interrupted plans for community-based physical centres for youth it encouraged acceleration of virtual supports including a brand for integrated youth services in Alberta and a virtual space that invokes the feeling of a community hub.

Jenny has jumped at every opportunity to engage, from discussing what quality mental health services look like, to reviewing and discussing tools for young people, providing input on messages for Text4Hope young people, and sharing their story as a feature on the upcoming website.

“For me, [engagement is] about being inclusive, and making sure resources are effective. I feel like anything that is being designed for young people should include those voices, reflecting the diverse needs of young people from different backgrounds. We want to make sure this community has the opportunity to shape things that concern them and to make resources even better. A group of staff, however diligent, however experienced, cannot replicate the work of youth advocates. It’s socially responsible.”

In Jenny’s mental health journey, conversations around services were typically driven solely by adults with PhD’s or MD’s (often male, usually caucasian). “I just didn’t see myself represented in the people driving the discussion.”

Sitting around a virtual table of youth from various backgrounds, Jenny was happy to see strong representation. Furthermore, the young people all received participation honorariums-a strong signal about the value of their expertise to the team.

The chance to collaborate with other young people was also a huge boost to Jenny’s mental health during isolation. Working with others who felt similarly and perceived mental health experiences in the same way was comforting. Finding like minded friends had made a difference in Jenny’s mental health in the past; and now Jenny’s experience was an opportunity to give back to the community.

Jenny is amazed to see the results of their engagement coming to life. They liken it to crafting a story. “The more you work and the more you connect with other like minded folks, the more it grows. It becomes more nuanced, more colorful, and something absolutely beautiful.”

Says Nancy Zhao, AB-IYSI’s Community Engagement and Partnership Lead, “Young people have really informed what services need to look and feel like to meet their needs. This has led to many insights. We heard over and over about the need for creative, artistic outlets. It's made the team find ways to make the website collaborative with many opportunities for youth to express themselves.”

When the brand and website launch in late 2020, youth across Alberta will have real time support through a virtual clinic, Text4Hope Youth, and resources that can be tailored by young people into individual toolkits. Jenny is excited to see the project come to life, and hopeful for what it means for the future.

“We’ve achieved a sense of community in a digital space. AB-IYSI gives us the room to express who we are, to be really respectful of our experiences (especially our own) and to rely on others to be there for us when we need picking up,” says Jenny. “I can’t wait to see a physical space like that, a community space with a focus on mental health services. This is a paradigm shift: we’re going to start speaking about mental health differently, we’re going to stop staying silent, and start lifting people up instead of ignoring them.”

“The idea behind the initiative is to transform access to care; the virtual supports we have developed will go a long way to achieving this. We’re excited to be able to offer young people resources during this uncertain time, and we remain dedicated to bringing physical community hubs to Alberta.

The physical spaces will be safe, youth-friendly and easily accessible, no referrals needed. We know that it can be tough to reach out for help, so we want to make it clear that if you walk into one of these spaces, no one would have to know why you were there. It is also important then, that we mix not only health services together, but also bring social services into the space.”

Pamela Liversidge, Executive Director of the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Initiative

Alberta Hospital Edmonton

A psychiatric campus of care with a recovery oriented approach to mental illness and substance use, Alberta Hospital Edmonton (AHE) is establishing itself as the trusted expert voice on mental health and an innovation hub through education, research and practice excellence.

Your support helps Alberta Hospital Edmonton deliver quality care for the most acutely ill.

The patient experience has changed as a necessary result of pandemic measures. Undaunted, frontline staff are working hard to support those in their care. With some creative solutions and the help of 20 redeployed staff, AHE saw an increase in meaningful patient engagement, despite limits on face to face interaction.

Virtual visits were made possible through the provision of iPads to patients and family members, individual activity packages were created to enrich personal time, and staff put innovative strategies into action.

Guided visits
to the onsite greenhouse and computer lab

on the units led by Spiritual Services

Creation of
and display of hearts around the site

Campus walking challenge—
enough km’s were tracked to make it across Canada!

Inpatient Services

295 beds

1836 admissions in 2019-20

160 Acre Therapeutic Grounds

Teaching Hospital affiliated with the U of A, MacEwan, and Concordia

Adult Forensic (95 beds)
Provides specialized forensic mental health services for individuals involved in the law who have a mental illness and supports them to achieve their goals and safely return to the community.

Youth Forensic (18 beds)
Provides assessment and specialized treatment, focusing on youth aged 12-17 under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Adult Acute (100 beds)
Provides patient-centered general and intensive services to individuals demonstrating a wide range of psychiatric disorders.

Young Adult (20 beds)
Provides multi-disciplinary assessment and least restrictive treatment options to young adults ages 17-26 to advance their recovery and help them live independently in the community.

Rehabilitation (62 beds)
Provides recovery-oriented care to individuals with longer term mental health or behavioural concerns and developmentally delayed individuals with co-occurring mental health concerns. Programs focus on the development of skills to increase independence and support.

Supporting the Zone

AHE opened two closed units to welcome mental health patients from the RAH and UAH so the hospitals could increase medical spaces in case of a COVID-19 surge.

The Royal Alexandra Hospital and University Hospital expressed sincere gratitude for their temporary home.

Working Together

AHE’s Transportation team stepped up and helped move patients from the RAH and UAH to their temporary home at AHE and back again.

AHE Transportation also supported the entire zone by transporting PPE to community programs and safely transporting vulnerable clients to the Expo Centre.

Transportation orange shirt day

Alberta Hospital Edmonton Provides Care Across the Community

As the Edmonton Zone anticipated surges in COVID-19 cases this past March, staff at Alberta Hospital Edmonton jumped into action to support the community.

In late March, while most of us were still getting a handle on Zoom and negotiating space in the house to work with the rest of the family, healthcare staff in the city were planning for worst case scenarios.

It is gratifying to provide clients with education, support, and reassurance with what is going on. Sometimes people are asking: Where am I going? What’s going on? The ability to provide a calm, reassuring response and atmosphere to reduce their anxiety and provide a sense of security is satisfying.”

Britney Petrie, Psychiatric Aide

At the University of Alberta and Royal Alexandra Hospitals, this meant preparing for a possible influx of COVID-19 patients projected to require acute care. The hospitals began evaluating their mental health spaces, between them home to three inpatient units for patients with mental illnesses.

Teams in Addiction and Mental Health quickly moved to action, developing a plan to free up beds at the hospitals by relocating patients to Alberta Hospital Edmonton (AHE).

AHE is the home to 295 inpatient beds, part of a full psychiatric campus of care with a recovery-oriented approach to mental illness and substance use. To accommodate new patients, the Addictions and Mental Health programs collaborated to reopen two closed units at the hospital.

By April 8, just two weeks after the initial proposal, staff began transitioning patients to the newly prepared units at AHE.

Their efforts did not go unnoticed. When the patients departed to their home hospitals two months later, care managers from the two hospitals sent out their thanks. “I just wanted to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone...It's been a huge undertaking for all of us but the welcoming atmosphere and all the support have made it a very positive experience,” said one. “The staff have raved about the support they have received out here.”

While staff inside the hospital managed the new transition, AHE’s transportation team turned their efforts towards supporting the most vulnerable Edmontonians. With typical programming on pause, the team began transporting vulnerable clients from around the city to the Edmonton Expo Centre, which hosted a temporary isolation shelter.

The AHE Transportation team plays a vital role in patient care. COVID-19 required the team to rethink how things were done. For example, adaptations were made to address the number of patients transported together and physical barriers were installed in vehicles. While changes were made, the team remained committed to providing services supporting the overriding belief that patients deserve to get the care they need, when they need it. The team looked for ways to support patients through the pandemic, whether taking a patient to the bank or supporting them in their discharge. Says driver Ken Pawluk, “At first it was a bit scary when we weren’t sure about the virus, but it feels like what we are doing for the patients has great benefit. The ability to provide someone the opportunity to have a safe and warm place to stay and the ability to get them there safely is satisfying.”

AHE Transportation continues to support Edmonton’s Addiction and Mental Health sites to ensure they receive their weekly supplies of masks and PPE.

As Alberta Health Services President Dr.Verna Yiu said in one of her updates to AHS staff, “Collaboration and teamwork are key in ensuring we provide quality care to all our patients, with compassion and dignity.” Staff members at AHE eagerly rose to the challenges the pandemic presented, playing an important role in keeping patients safe in these unusual times.

“The patients appear to be more engaged and energetic. It’s been exciting to see staff and patients walking outside and taking advantage of time with their staff and AHE’s grounds.”

AHE Team Member

Parent and child hugging

Ways to Support the Foundation

Mental illness, like a broken bone or the common cold, is treatable. With timely, appropriate care, and support from generous community members like you, it can get better. There are many ways to support the Foundation, and each gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.

Your monthly donation will help us ensure sustainable mental health funding is available.

At this uncertain time, your gift will allow us to move quickly when urgent needs arise.

Email or visit to learn more.
780.717.6214| 6th Floor, 9942 108 Street Edmonton, AB T5K 2J5


The simplest and most straightforward way to donate is to make an annual gift with cash, credit card or personal cheque. Use our convenient and secure online donation form to make a gift today with your credit card and receive a tax receipt within minutes of your transaction.

Make a gift in memory of a loved one. Choose to honour someone’s special occasion by supporting a mental health program. You will receive a tax receipt for your generous gift, and we will send a special card recognizing your generous contribution.

Large gifts from corporate organizations are hugely instrumental in the success of our programming. Whether companies are interested in making a significant gift to support our causes, to involve their employees in charitable giving, or to encourage their customers to donate to the Foundation, we offer a wide range of giving opportunities.

Mental health is a growing issue, particularly in the workplace. Your commitment to support addiction and mental health care–through sponsorship of one of the Foundation’s events or campaigns–helps demonstrate your dedication to mental wellness.

Host your own event to encourage your network to get involved in the cause! Donate a portion of your retail sales like Poppy Barley, who donated $10,000 to Integrated Youth Services as part of Black Friday last year. Create your own event like the passionate volunteers of Breaking the Silence. Or simply host a bake sale or birthday celebration with the Foundation in mind. No event is too small to make a difference. Our staff can help you coordinate.

The stories featured in this annual report demonstrate the profound impact of donors, and the excellence of care provided by front line addictions and mental health workers. Donor support contributes to addiction and mental health resources and programming beyond what’s featured.

Help us provide immediate and ongoing support throughout the year. Becoming a monthly donor allows us to make long term plans with a source of sustainable funding. Setting up a regular monthly donation is an affordable, thoughtful, and easy way to make a difference.

Here’s a snapshot of other projects your contributions made possible in 2019-2020.

Camrose Open Doors–Outreach Navigator

The Camrose Open Door is a regional non-profit organization. Youth from throughout the central region of Alberta, who are between the ages of 11 and 24, can come to the Open Door in times of need for support and outreach services. Outreach Navigators build relationships to help youth in need to find the right assistance.

All in for Youth

All in for Youth provides wraparound services for at-risk children and youth. Broadly, this means supplementing areas in a young person’s life that present an obstacle to their success in school. Approximately 2,229 students and their families are part of 5 school communities served. The Mental Health Foundation helps fund success coaches, in-school therapists, and family outreach workers.

Family Connections

Family Connections is a free NEABPD skill-building workshop for families or caregivers of loved ones who struggle with emotional dysregulation. Over either a series of weekends or 12 evenings, parents are provided with current info on emotional dysregulation, and taught coping skills that they can use at home.

Machine Learning for Predictive Diagnosis

Unlike other physical diseases, we still highly rely on subjective reports and judgments rather than objective markers for diagnoses of mental disorders. We also do not have an effective way to predict potential severe outcomes associated with mental disorders, such as suicide and drug overdose. This is a pressing grand challenge to psychiatrists and researchers in the field of mental disorders. Leveraging the power of data and computational tools (e.g., AI and machine learning techniques) in research and practice in mental health for precision medicine will be a major future component in the excellence of mental health care. Our project aims to develop machine learning tools for personalized diagnosis and outcome prediction of mental disorders based on the large health administrative data of people in Alberta.

EMDR Therapy for Youth at Alberta Hospital Edmonton

We provided funding to lead a research project at AHE to determine whether youth can benefit from EMDR therapy. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy specifically targets traumatic memories or core beliefs associated with suicidal or self-harming behaviour. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new positive ones that are needed for wellness.

Pride Month Celebration

Patients at AHE can’t always participate in larger events hosted throughout Edmonton during Pride Month. Donor support provided funding so patients could host an on-site celebration.

Holiday Celebrations

Every summer, a dedicated group of Addiction and Mental Health staff and volunteers hosts a book stand at the Fringe to raise money for holiday celebrations for individuals who access mental health and addiction services in Edmonton. Though in the scheme of things it is a small sum, the money generously contributed through the Fringe book sale enables us to spread joy to so many programs and individuals. Every dollar went toward acts of kindness designed to ensure everyone had the opportunity to feel special during the holidays.

Alberta Hospital Edmonton–Art Refresh

Research demonstrates that beautifully-designed spaces support psychological and emotional wellness and foster collective community engagement and unity. Encouraging and maintaining beauty in spaces can add value for people at Alberta Hospital Edmonton. With community support, we are updating art in spaces throughout the hospital to create a welcoming atmosphere for patients to heal.

Addiction and Mental Health–Staff and Family Fun Day

Frontline workers in Addictions and Mental Health put their heart and soul into caring for and providing resources to individuals. The Foundation hosted a family friendly event for staff to thank them for their impact on the lives of patients.

Community Support

Because of you, we allocated over $1.5 million to mental health programs in 2019-2020

Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

Calgary Foundation

Edmonton Community Foundation

RBC Foundation

Eldon and Anne Foote Fund

The Dianne & Irving Kipnes Foundation

Baher Family Fund

Canadian Payroll Association

Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation


David and Nancy Foreman

Keller Construction Ltd.

Leder Charitable Foundation

Otsuka Canada Pharmaceuticals

Poppy Barley Inc


Telus Corporation

Vincent Agyapong

Alberta Blue Cross

ATCO EPIC - Pipelines & Liquids

Ernst & Young LLP

Felesky Flynn LLP

Go Auto Corporation

J. Hokanson Family Charitable Foundation

Lindsay Kelly


Cliff Lede Family Charitable Foundation

Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers

Overhead Door Co.

Pangman Development Corporation

PCL Construction Management Inc.

Rohit Communities Inc.

RPC BPI Agriculture

Adam Abba-Aji

Abbey Lane Inc.

Accurate Network Services


Akash Homes

Al-Terra Engineering Ltd.

Bryce Andre

Arrow Engineering Inc.

Assiff Law

ATB Financial

Leonard Austin

Bank of Montreal

Ken Barry

Mary Pat Barry

Barry Bentz

Boys & Girls Clubs/Big Brothers & Big Sisters (Edmonton Area)

Brown Investment Group of CIBC Wood Gundy

Bryan & Company

Lisa Burback

Charlene Butler

CBRE Limited

Chemco Electrical Contractors Ltd.

Clark Builders

Crowe MacKay

Claire Desrochers


Ralph Eckl


Farm Credit Canada

Gail Fergusson

Field Law

Flagship Clothing Co.

Foster Park

Andrew Greenshaw

Marshall Hamar Memorial Fund

Health City

Megan Hiebert

Hodgson Schilf Evans Architects

Ben Horcica

Susan Hsu

DeAnn Hunter

IBI Group

Igloo Capital Inc.


Intact Insurance (Surety)

J.R. Paine & Associates Ltd.

Kingston Ross Pasnak LLP

Mark Korthuis

Xin-Min Li

Nancy MacDonald

Deb Manz

Melcor Developments Ltd

Penny Omell

Optimum Talent

Parkwood Master Builder

Parlee McLaws LLP

David Schuster & Elaine Pollard Family Fund

Angela Porteous

RGO Office Products Edmonton Ltd.

Ross & Sylvestre LLP

Scotia Wealth Management

Silverberg & Associates Ltd

SITE Resource Group

Sorrell Financial Inc.

Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Supreme Capital Inc

University of Alberta

Tim Varughese

Vision Creative Inc.

Patrick White

Wolverine Energy and Infrastructure


Ralph and Gay Young Family Fund

Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan

Atami Management Inc.

Cameron Blair

Brownlee LLP

Cameron Development Corporation

Jessica Chiu

Covenant Foundation

Darren Currie


Diamonds & Dallies

Edwin Parr Composite School

Global Public Affairs

Carolyn Graham

Greg Badger Memorial Fund

Don Grundy

Fiona Hay

Heather Hicks

Chris Huebner

Jennifer Jordan Interior Design

JV Driver Group

Jill Kelland

Alyssa Lefaivre

Next Architecture

Parkland Youth Mental Health Hub - Stony Plain FCSS

St. Albert Cosmopolitan Club


V Squared Consulting


Josh Benko

Katrina Bonnycastle

Nelson Branco

Camrose Open Door Association

Susan Craig Bieganek

Kelly Dickie

Tania Doblanko

Edmonton John Howard Society

David Grauwiler

HSL Therapeutics

Jody Johnson

Johnson Insurance


Kodiak Wildlife Products

Cody Lakevold

Daniel Li

Catherine Long

Rebecca Matthys

Eugenie McCallan

Tom McGratton

Marilyn Mucha

Norton Enterprises

John Nuthall

Kjeld Orchyk

Catrin Owen

Colin Rietveld

Rosecroft Custom Homes

San Rufo Homes Ltd.

Stephen Sangster

Joe Santoro

Rhonda Scott-Dakin


Spectra Foods

Hugh Tanner

Daniel Thackeray

Roger Tokay

Lindsay Torok-Both

Barbara Van Ingen

Yolanda Van Wachem

Wesmech Sales (Prairies) Ltd

Percy Woods

Michael Zevgolis

Thank you to our Sponsors!

2019-2020 Board Members

Mary Pat Barry | Board Chair

Michael Saunders | Vice-Chair

Josh Benko | Treasurer

Ben Horcica (Past Chair)
Charlene Butler
Cody Lakevold
Deb Manz

Tim Varughese
Jeff Strank
Gord Gilroy
Dr. PJ White
Cory Wosnack

Peter Bevilacqua
DeAnn Hunter
Erick Hamdan
Angela Porteous

Mark Korthius | Ex-officio

Mark Snaterse | Ex-officio

Learn more about our board of trustees here

Financial Snapshot 2019-2020

Statement of Revenues and Expenditures
Year Ended March 31, 2020

Revenue 2020 2019
Donations and Fundraising $ 2,266,513 $ 1,506,419
Alberta Health Services funding 54,000 54,000
Investment Income 49,183 56,528
2,369,696 1,616,947
Direct Funding Expenditures 144,473 148,600
2,225,223 1,468,347
Administration 429,036 307,046
Excess of Revenue Over Expenses Before Other
Income (Disbursements)
1,796,187 1,161,301
Other Income (Disbursements)
Realized gain on marketable securities (2,557) 37,606
Unrealized gain (loss) on marketable securities (108,338) 27,398
Disbursements (1,537,775) (804,984)
(1,648,670) (739,980)
Excess (Deficiency) of Revenue Over Expenses $ 147,517 $ 421,321