July 15th, 2024

Wood’s Homes shining light on Mental Health Week

By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on May 3, 2022.

Mental Health Week in Canada is hoping to increase awareness of people’s mental health.
May 2 to 8 is Mental Health Week in Canada with May 7 being Children’s Mental Health Day. This national time of recognition provides an opportunity to find the services available to help and raise awareness around mental health.
One of the organizations looking to decrease the stigma around mental health is Wood’s Homes. Wood’s Homes is a children’s mental health centre that supplies treatment and support for 20,000 children, youth and families every year and has been working in Lethbridge and the surrounding area since 1990.
Program manager at Wood’s Homes, Shauna Cohen, said there has been a significant increase in the mental health needs over the last couple of years. In the last year, Wood’s Homes has seen a 17 per cent increase in services provided to children, youth and families and a 40 per cent increase in services delivered over the phone.
According to Wood’s Homes, children and youth are going through what has been described as a ‘mental health crisis’ due to the global pandemic with results of how COVID-19 has affected the younger generation still being figured out.
“Mental health can impact people from all walks of life. It doesn’t discriminate. And we just want to reduce the stigma of mental health by creating this awareness in our community, because it is okay to not be okay,” said Cohen.
Wood’s Homes supplies 24/7 support to children, youth and families through phone, text, email and LiveChat and counselling in 12 different languages. In Lethbridge, the Youth Shelter provides vulnerable youth with a place to warm up, shower and have something to eat.
“We also have a program called our Youth Support Navigators, they help young people connect to the right referral at the right time, help to get the services they need,” said Cohen. “And then we also have Family Support programs.”
Cohen also explained how important community support is for a non-profit like Wood’s Homes. She said the money that comes from community support can go towards items that typically wouldn’t be included in the budget. But the biggest piece, Cohen said, is creating community awareness.
“This week in Lethbridge we’ve got a list of places in the community that are actually lighting up green in support of mental health,” said Cohen.
Wood’s Homes announced that Lethbridge City Hall, Cargill Grain Terminals, Lethbridge YMCA and the Water Tower Grill will help recognize this day by lighting up green on May 7. Lethbridge RBC branches, Firestone Restaurant and GoWest Marketing are also helping to spread awareness on their indoor and outdoor digital signs.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Wood’s Homes at 403-317-1777 and 1-800-563-6106 or visit woodshomes.ca to find out more.

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