The Mustard Seed is hoping to improve the health and well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty through the introduction of its Health and Wellness Program in Medicine Hat.
The program, which first began at Calgary’s Mustard Seed five years ago, has now been implemented in the Hat, Red Deer, Kamloops and Edmonton locations. The goal of the program is to make available physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health resources for vulnerable populations.
Implementation of the program in Medicine Hat began in October of 2021. Currently, the program is located in the basement of the Mustard Seed.
“Homeless and vulnerable populations are four times more likely to die of cancer, five times more likely to have heart disease and 28 times more likely to have hepatitis,” Colette Eirich, managing director of Medicine Hat’s Mustard Seed, told the News. “We want to get to them before those things happen.
“Forty-two per cent of clients accessing our centre have physical health problems and roughly 38 per cent have mental health problems. And of course, COVID hasn’t helped. Our goal is to help them heal and break this cycle of poverty and homelessness.”
Eirich says the program has already helped a number of Hatters and hopes it will continue to grow and meet service demands.
“We get a lot of appreciation because we’re sort of a hand up; the person who is not there to judge them,” said Eirich. “It’s a life changing service for some.”
Since the program’s implementation (in Calgary, Edmonton, Kamloops, Red Deer and Medicine Hat), more than 42,000 Albertans have received care through it.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News