Celebrating a Better Future in Mind

On Tuesday we observed World Mental Health Day at Alberta Hospital Edmonton—joined by Honorable Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu, and other distinguished guests.Those who attended sipped coffee, ate cookies, and admired the artwork made by patients at the hospital, followed by presentations on the future of mental health in Alberta.

The energy in the auditorium was high as patients and staff gathered to meet and reflect. Mental health is top of mind every day at the hospital, but Tuesday offered an opportunity to not simply tackle the immediate obstacles at hand. It was a chance to envision how we want the future to look.

This means something different to everyone, but together our visions form a picture of a future where mental health is a priority, and a given.

Mental health is the responsibility of the whole community. By saying We have a better future in mind, the Foundation imagines a community united in this common goal. On Wednesday we were grateful to see this in action. I’ll leave you with the hopeful words of Dr. Daniel Li, who captured so well what this means for patients and families when he spoke on Tuesday.

As you drove into AHE today, you could see Autumn in its full glory.  We have Alberta’s most beautiful park-like therapeutic setting for a hospital, with hundred year-old trees.  Through this winds the friendship trail that our patients walk daily, connecting the many buildings and expert multi-disciplinary teams on this healing site.

The aging brick of AHE and the beautiful land is full of memory and stories.  Patients come with brokenness and pain, but leave with another step–and sometimes a giant leap–towards hope and recovery.  This journey is usually not a straight-line, and on some days, can be more like a roller-coaster.

Yet, with persistence, each person with their family can find growth, meaning and recovery in their mental illness. This is the truth and hope on World Mental Health Day: “we have a better future in mind.

As an example of this, we have our patients from the Giving Back Group, and Rehab & Forensic programs, who through art-work, symbolize how stories of pain lead to growth and hope.

The journey with our patients can also be like a roller-coaster for staff.  As we travel from strength to strength with patients, we also feel the pain, and go through the highs and lows with them.

Consequently, I want to thank our staff at AHE, for your commitment and resilience through the years.  We will innovate forward for the greater clarion call of our patients, and remain steadfast in our commitments to them and to each other as health care teams.

We will continue to shape our “better future in mind” into reality with front-line staff & patients.

As part of our World Mental Health Day celebrations, we asked our community about their hopes for the future. Read and listen to their responses here.