July 9, 2019
Patient advocate, Gabby Bowie, shares a moment with pet therapy dog, Wolfgang, at a July 3 announcement with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation.
Story by Amelia Schofield | Photo by Alexis Millar
EDMONTON — “Everything feels brighter,” says Gabby Bowie, an 18-year-old patient advocate, following a historic announcement from the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation (SCHF) for child and youth mental health.
On July 3, the foundations announced that the SCHF has pledged a $5-million gift over five years to the MHF. As the largest, single gift the MHF has ever received, this investment will fund integrated youth service hubs that will increase access to mental health services across Alberta.
“My entire experience as a youth was focused around my depression,” Bowie says. “It felt really good when my family and I finally found the right services to help me manage my mental health.”
She adds that having a support team helped guide her through the healing process. “I’m finally able to live my life, and I want other people to know it gets better.”
The integrated hubs funded through this donation will support individuals like Bowie by providing a friendly environment where youth can access resources such as primary care, addiction and mental health services, housing, social services, and peer and navigation support.
According to Mike House, president and CEO of the SCHF, their investment is about providing children and their families with the care and support they need, where and when they need it.
“We believe that physical and mental health are connected, and we know that children and youth have better health outcomes when they have easy access to timely services and treatment closer to home,” he says.
“Our $5-million investment and partnership with the Mental Health Foundation to create integrated youth hubs across our province is another example of how our donors are advancing mental health care to help kids and their families—right in their own backyard.”
Mark Korthuis, president and CEO of the MHF, says he’s thankful for the SCHF’s investment in child and youth mental health.
“We’re so grateful to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for understanding the urgent need for improved access to mental health services for youth, and for believing in our vision to provide it,” says Korthuis.
“We’re excited to work in tandem with the Stollery to ensure that no matter what level of mental health support youth need, they get timely access to help at a place in their community that welcomes and supports them. The integrated youth hubs we’re creating together through this historic gift will make a difference today for young people and their families.”
Currently, there are several hubs in various stages of operation in Alberta, including ACCESS Open Minds in Edmonton. The funding provided by the SCHF will support the MHF’s goal of expanding integrated youth services into 12 communities across Alberta by 2022. Learn more.