Eckville - Wellness Coalition: Our Mind, Our Health, Our Community
The Eckville and Area Wellness coalition was established after a mental health 101 presentation by our AHS Mental Health Team. This topic piqued the interest of many participants and it inspired us to organize a coalition. Eckville FCSS and Neighborhood place took the lead on bringing community stakeholders together for an Eckville community wellness meeting. After a few meetings, a Terms of Reference was developed with members.
The coalition’s slogan is “our mind, our health, and our community”. The coalition has 4 main goals:
- Organize and support activities that encourage well-being
- Provide information and connections within the community to assist individuals in creating a supportive network to help them reach their wellness goal
- Encourage those in the community to provide suggestions and feedback on future wellness programs and activities
- Create a space within the community to discuss wellness and reduce stigma
The first events hosted by our coalition was “Cannabis Let’s Talk” (Spring 2018), the purpose was to educate the community on the new cannabis legislation and to listen to community concerns. The resources for this event were from AHS Mental Health Promotion Team. A second workshop called “Mental Well Being in the community” (Fall 2018) was hosted to build the capacity of coalition members and community stakeholders around mental wellness. Our committee continued on that theme where they purchased books for members to expand their knowledge, and we implemented a wellness sharing circle for the last 15 minutes of all coalition meetings for personal growth, development, and role modeling. The funding that was secured was a $5,000 AHS Mental Health Coalitions Connect grant.
We have learned that community members feel stigma around mental health because they may be overcoming their own challenges or they have children or family members affected. Many community members are reluctant to talk about any aspect of mental health or attend some sessions. We have learned using positive terminology and resources seems to make a difference in participation. We have invested in sending members of our coalitions to training sessions to help grow our community’s capacity around positive mental wellness.
We have learned that more people are interested in mental health and well-being than first anticipated, and we have seen positive impacts on participants and coalition members. We have shared resources from CMHA Red Deer such as community meetings, paint nights, etc. https://reddeer.cmha.ca/programs-services/
Some of our positive impacts are from hosting events that create a space to talk about mental health, building capacity with people in our community around mental health, and having student lunch and learns at our junior high and high school. We have tracked our results through surveys, poster contests, and focus group conversations.
The individuals in the picture are our members. They represent Eckville municipal government, Eckville FCSS, Eckville Library, Eckville Lions Club, Eckville Recreation Board, Benalto FCSS, and a retired Eckville teacher who volunteers on the committee.