plus overflow checkmark zoom download-icon link camera film search messages calendar discussions logout invites user bullhorn cog alarm checkbox arrow-right circle-right circle-left group checkbox ui empty checkbox ui arrow-down download help facebook instagram mail paperplane phone warning megaphone map telescope chat message-send message refresh desktop checkmark eye heart compass

NEED HELP? Call the FREE 24/7 Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642

Animator Training

The Rural Mental Health Project offers free training and funding to community members across Alberta who want to be a Community Animator and start a conversation about mental health and wellbeing in their community. 

Training is comprised of 7 modules. Modules 1, 2, and 7 are online and self-directed while Animators are brought together for live training in Modules 3-6 (each module involves one day of training). Currently these live training sessions are held via Zoom for four days, with Modules 3-6 split up over two months.

If their time is not covered by their employer, Animators can receive compensation for their time in training through a microgrant.

Training Overview

Module 1 (Online Self-Directed): Understanding the Rural Mental Health Project and Network

Module 2 (Online Self-Directed): Learning About Community

Module 3 (Virtual): Your Community Journey – Preparing for the Trip

Module 4 (Virtual): Healthy Community Impact

Module 5 (Virtual): Growing Community Connections

Module 6 (Virtual): Working Collectively

Module 7 (Online Self-Directed): Supporting Community Initiatives

Training IS…

Training IS NOT

·    An introduction to and discussion on the concepts of mental health and community development

·   A formal mental health certification (i.e., ASIST or MHFA)

·    A menu of options for next steps and paths forward

·   A set of assigned expectations/next steps

·    About sharing new ways of framing mental health discussions

·   About providing a specific outline, script, or guide for discussing mental health in community

·    To broaden a shared understanding of mentally healthy people in a healthy community – an upstream approach to mental health support

·   To prepare animators to offer formalized or clinical supports and services

·    The start of a learning journey and a jumping off point for connections and network involvement

·   A one-time education opportunity, our goal is for continued engagement with the project and network

·    A sharing space, for creating collective knowledge, idea generation, etc.

·   A rigid outline of what is right/wrong


After Training

After completing Module 7, Animators will receive a Certificate of Completion and the microgrant funding will be transferred to the Backbone Organization supporting the Animator. The grant term is 1 year from completing training and a summary report will be due at the end of the term.

Once an Animator has completed training, they have access to all RMH Network events and are eligible to apply for RMH Community Grants.


Community Animators

When we think of an Animator, we think of a person who can bring life – from an image to a moving story. In the Rural Mental Health Project, the 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 discussion while also building relationships. Animators will go through training to build their capacity and understanding of mental health, mental illness, mentally healthy community and collective decision-making and facilitation. Through their training, Animators will have the tools, expertise, and support to bring together community groups who can collectively become visionaries, decision-makers and do-ers together.

More on Community Animators +


Action Teams

Action Teams can be very different from community to community. Action Teams can include local stakeholders, including community members, Elders, people with lived experiences, agencies, educators, and community associations.

Some communities may opt for a more formal style, meeting on a regular schedule and have more formal plans. Other communities may prefer an informal style with a group who comes together in the evening or weekends at a coffee shop or local events. There is no right prescription!

Within the project, we see Action Teams as groups of citizens who are working together in the way that works for them. It includes bringing together diverse stakeholders (i.e., agency and non-agency community members, educators, family members, local governments, businesses and more) to determine what a mentally healthy community with mentally healthy people looks like locally. Action Teams should collaboratively participate in collective planning and decision-making to determine which mental health pillars and actions need attention. Together, Action Teams may:

  • Discover – Exploring and mapping the community to learn more about their community, their dreams, dissatisfaction and more. This includes learning about the perspectives of others on community wellbeing. It can also include learning about the assets that are already there and building on those strengths in creative ways. Together, the community can create a collective vision or “north star” that guides what they would like to achieve in their community to be a more mentally healthy place.
  • Develop – Beginning to decide which areas are important to get started immediately and which can be considered in the future. The aim is to start with the ideas that are already attracting attention and energy. These discussions can help the community to create a Transformational Roadmap and Action Plans surrounding those mental health and community wellbeing priorities.
  • Design – Detailing the plans and logistics that align with the Roadmap and Action Plans; thinking about working across different initiatives and agencies or groups to increase impact.
  • Deploy – Taking action! This includes making adjustments and paying attention to patterns or opportunities that are beginning to grow.
  • Debrief – Reflecting, observing, and learning from one another. It is key to hear and learn from all insights and perspectives, share stories (the good and the bad) and celebrate the wins! Together, this reflection can help inform a new Discovery (see above).