Learn about the Rural Mental Health Project in a short video!
Animators, Action Teams, & Transformational Road Maps
The design, implementation and evaluation of Rural Mental Health Project is being done collaboratively with strategic partnerships to ground approaches in rural and Indigenous worldviews. The principles that guide our work include being community-driven, building on existing strengths and using wholistic and collaborative approaches while considering the full lifespan of our communities. Our approach has two key elements: Community Animators and Action Teams.
Community Animators & Action Teams
Anchoring the project is the training of local Animators and the development Action Plans through a community engagement process. Local community Animators in participating rural and remote communities are provided training and support. An Animator is someone who is interested in bringing life to a conversation around supporting mentally healthy communities. They are the catalyst who can help facilitate intentional discussions about mental health while also building relationships. Animators will go through training to build their capacity and understanding of mental health, mental illness, mentally healthy communities, collective decision-making, and collaborative facilitation. Through their training, Animators will gain the tools, expertise, and support to bring together community groups who can collectively become visionaries, decision-makers, and do-ers together.
Training enables Animators to convene local stakeholders – including community members and elders, agencies, educators, and community associations – to collectively scan the current mental health landscape and collaboratively work to support mental health and wellness in their local community. Together, these Action Teams can set direction, generate solutions, and implement a transformational roadmap dedicated to supporting a mentally health community. Roadmaps will include action plans that strengthen the pillars supporting a mentally healthy community. This will identify existing services, community strengths and opportunities, promising practices, and a set of key strategic activities to consider over the next three years and beyond.
Community Animators are supported by a local community-based organization. Connecting Animators to a local backbone organization will ensure the community continues to be engaged in developing and growing its capacities. Animators will be connected to the Rural Mental Health Network to facilitate shared learning and experience.
Rural Mental Health Network
The Rural Mental Health Network connects Community Animators, Action Teams, and other stakeholders across Alberta. Together, communities can learn and share, while drawing on collective experience to identify existing capacity, systemic issues and common themes in the rural mental health and community wellness landscape. There is a clear need for communities across the province to collaborate on solution-focused promising practices related to rural mental health and wellness, as well as identifying local priorities and potential collective approaches. Working together, communities can create new or better pathways to access existing corridors of care, facilitate shared learning, problem-solving and emerging practice.
The Network is also an access point for additional training, resources, and funding. It is a way of coordinating and creating efficient pathways to offer training, services, campaigns, and more. Through the Network, existing community-based services and approaches can be better utilized to equip rural and remote communities to continue to meet mental health and wellness needs across the province.