Calgary

City announces funding for fast pilot projects aimed at mental health and addictions

Nearly $600,000 will be used to test new ideas to help Calgarians facing mental illness and addiction, in a program led by the City of Calgary in partnership with five community organizations. 

Nearly $600K will go to 16 projects with tight timelines to show results

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announces funding for 16 projects targeting mental health and addictions. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Nearly $600,000 will be used to test new ideas to help Calgarians facing mental illness and addiction, in a program led by the City of Calgary in partnership with five community organizations. 

Change Can't Wait is funding 16 pilot projects that have to demonstrate results within 120 days of receiving funding. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says even before the pandemic, Calgary was in the middle of a mental health and addictions crisis.

He says the projects are focused on what is happening now.

"One of them is about helping people tell their story, which is an important first step in mental health recovery," he said. 

"But the particular project we are highlighting is letting people tell their story virtually, helping them learn the skills to do digital storytelling."

Projects include $45,000 for "ambassadors" who will "walk around City Hall and Stephen Avenue, interacting with people to strengthen a sense of belonging and inclusiveness and provide support as needed." 

An online sharing circle with First Nations elders will receive $5,000, and $18,200 will be used to better help homeless Calgarians on the autism spectrum. 

Project teams will submit a final report in January.

Those results will be shared in a report to city council as part of the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction Strategy.

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