Making the most of our mental health services - Bell #LetsTalk Day 2018

Jan. 31, 2018

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Martha Powell

In 2016, we released our Vital Signs report through the lens of mental health, where CMHA London & Middlesex identified mental health as the “single greatest issue facing our community.” 

We dove deep, looking critically at our community, and called for more, for better. Our report showed that London & Middlesex has 147 mental health programs, 36 addiction programs, and yet, the barriers and gaps in services are endless.

In recent years, London Community Foundation has experienced an influx of grant requests trying to better serve people with mental health and/or addiction challenges. We funded what we could, the best way we knew how. With our Community Vitality grant program, we were able to recognize collaborative initiatives that focused on closing the gap in services in our community:

*The above are only some of the grants since 2014 that have been given to initiatives combating mental health and/or addictions

Over the course of 2017, using the results of our 2016 Vital Signs report, we held numerous Vital Conversations in an effort to bring the community together to create impactful change – especially service providers. We received insightful feedback from individuals that have used the system and heard the frustrations of service providers, yet we found ourselves stuck with no clear solution. Everyone could recognize that something needed to give, but nobody quite knew what or how.

While we still don’t have our own answer, we’ve found someone that just might be on that path. Mary Wiley, Executive Director of Niagara Connects, helped to create the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter. The Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter speaks passionately to the collective aspirations of the community. Its goals include incorporating mental wellness for all people in planning for the future, and taking an inclusive, holistic, preventive, individual and family-centered approach across the whole lifespan, so that each community member has the opportunity to achieve their optimal level of wellbeing.

Mental health and addictions are both still very much at the forefront of our community, as we hear more about opioid crises, mental health bed shortages, and youth and mental health. How fitting then, that on #BellLetsTalk Day, we are able to announce our final Vital Conversation for this Vital Signs report. We’re honoured to be bringing Mary Wiley to London, to speak about the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter, highlighting how it works and the journey it’s taken to get to where it is now.

Susan MacPhail of My Sisters’ Place states that “our community is only as strong as our most vulnerable person.” Coming together as a community is vital, if we truly want to create lasting impactful change for mental health services.

If you want to learn more about the Mental Health and Addictions Charter, if you want to keep the conversation going, if you want to explore how we can create systematic change in our community…then join us.

Wedenesday, March 28, 2018
7:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Wolf Performance Hall, Citi Plaza
Email info [at] lcf [dot] on [dot] ca to confirm attendance.

The time is now. And it starts here, in our community.