Group launches to help P.E.I. organizations create mental wellness initiatives

·2 min read
'Our goal is to go out into the community,” says John Horrelt, advisory chair for the P.E.I. Allaince for Mental Well-Being. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
'Our goal is to go out into the community,” says John Horrelt, advisory chair for the P.E.I. Allaince for Mental Well-Being. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. organizations and groups who want to enhance or add mental health initiatives to their programming now have more support.

The P.E.I. Alliance for Mental Well-Being was launched Friday afternoon at the P.E.I. Farm Centre in Charlottetown.

The alliance will not provide direct services to Islanders, but will work with government and community organizations to provide funding for mental well-being initiatives.

It will also oversee a grant program to help community groups and not-for-profit organizations.

"Our goal is to go out into the community," said John Horrelt, advisory chair for the alliance.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"We are going to be travelling across the Island and meeting with people in the community and developing our list of what can be done to enhance programs that are out there or create new programs."

A series of information sessions will be held across the province from Nov. 22 to Dec 3.

"You may have a home and school association that approaches us or we get in connection with them and they want to pilot or try a new program in a school that helps with the well-being of our Island, of our Island students."

'Community collaboration'

Over 40 people attended the event Friday, including P.E.I. Premier Dennis King and Ernie Hudson, P.E.I.'s health minister.

The P.E.I. government first announced the funding back in March, but at that time called it the Centre for Mental Well-Being.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

The provincial government has contributed $10 million over the next five years to the alliance.

There are four funding streams within the grant program:

  • Innovation grants offer one-time funding of up to $50,000 to help develop and test innovative approaches to building resilience among Islanders.

  • The enhanced support grants fund offers up to $100,000 per year for up to three years to enhance existing programs and services.

  • The creating connections grant offers one-time funding of $50,000 for projects that aims to strengthen relationships between various sectors.

  • The targeted investment grant provides one-time funding of $100,000 to support groups with policies or systems to help advance mental health and well-being.

"The creation of the Prince Edward Island Alliance for Mental Well-Being is meant to be a source of community collaboration," said Karen Cumberland, executive director of the alliance.

The focus is often on early intervention and acute care when it comes to issues around mental wellness, Cumberland said, but the alliance hopes to build up resiliency for Islanders.

"What we are doing is we are asking community groups to look at the idea of well-being in a different way, maybe work with partners they have never worked with before," she said.

The grant registration process will open in December with funding likely to begin in March of 2022.

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