By Mark Korthuis, Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation
We are still a young nation, very much in the formative stages. Our national condition is still flexible enough, that we can make almost anything we wish of our nation. No other country is in a better position than Canada to go ahead with the evolution of a national purpose, devoted to all that is good and noble and excellent in the human spirit.
- Lester B. Pearson, 14th Prime Minister of Canada, Canada Day 1967.
On Friday, June 9 we joined John Cameron Entertainment as they launched what John Cameron hailed as “the city’s first concert in support of mental health,” benefiting the Mental Health Foundation and our partners at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.
What Matters to You Day was this past Tuesday, and many people participated online and in care facilities to let Alberta Health Services know what is most important to them when receiving care. We care what you think; we aim to offer programs that will not only improve mental health care, but positively improve the personal lives of patients.
We’re excited to announce that the Mental Health Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation will receive $50,000 from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to support ACCESS Open Minds. RBC’s gift will fund a new Peer Parent Support Network for ACCESS OM’s Edmonton site.
Last week, for Mental Health Awareness Week, the students and teachers at Richard S. Fowler Junior High decided they were sick of waiting, and spoke up. On May 5 the school participated in a 10 hour bike-a-thon, with an amazing $40,000 goal. Incredibly, they surpassed their original aim and collectively raised $47,000 for improving access to youth mental health care. As promised, the organizing teacher Mr. Ludtke shaved his beard to recognize his students incredible effort to meet their goal!
We had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Frank MacMaster on his own turf this week: in his research lab at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Frank leads the University of Calgary’s research into non-invasive neurostimulation applications for mental health in children and young adults. He uses a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) device to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex so as to influence brain behavior. We know that’s a mouthful, so Frank offered to describe one role neurostimulation plays in helping depression sufferers.
ACCESS Open Minds is an initiative that the Foundation is excited to help support this coming year. The initiative offers promising services that will streamline mental health care pathways for youth. Recently the Mental Health Foundation staff, alongside representatives from Alberta Health Services and the Graham Boeckh Foundation, had an opportunity to take a tour inside the Edmonton ACCESS Open Minds site clinic at the Bill Rees YMCA, and to speak with its clinicians and program staff.
ACCESS Open Minds, a new clinic for children and young adults with mental health and addictions issues, held its official launch in Edmonton today. Staff and advocates for local youth mental health-oriented services gathered to champion the new initiative, and to celebrate programming that will provide youth the right care, at the right time, in the right place.
This year, the World Health Organization has chosen depression as its cause for focus. In coordination with its campaign, WHO has released some startling statistics.