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

In order to foster wellbeing within ourselves and within our communities, we must nourish six types of connection:

  • Connection to body and self
  • Connection to family, friends, and community
  • Connection to land and ground
  • Connection to the sacred
  • Connection to the human project
  • Connection to culture

On an instinctual level, this makes sense. Of course, the larger question is: how do we actually do this?

One way, is to foster a sense of curiosity about how the six elements of connection show up in our lives, and in the lives of people we are in relationship with. 

Read more in the tool: 

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This toolkit will help you with a step-by-step guide to designing, testing and reflecting how your solution is improving community wellness.

This is about building prototypes not pilots.

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Indigenous-based methods are about how you can approach your work with a relational lens. To incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and being into RECOVER, we try to centre intentional relationship-ing. This means it is important to become conscious of how we are carrying ourselves in relation to the communities served and incorporated. 

Self-location is a tool that allows us to acknowledge the historical, social, and cultural contexts that shape and story our lives. Acknowledging the lens through which we see the world allows us to unpack our own assumptions and our power to make meaningful change in the lives of others. Using this tool is as simple as introducing yourself in a way that many Indigenous peoples do — by telling the story of where and who you come from beginning with your grandparents or great-grandparents. 

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The Case for Healthy Places is a free report of peer-reviewed research on healthy placemaking initiatives that offers evidence-based guidance, recommendations, and case studies for health institutions, community organizations, and other partners. 

Produced with generous support from Kaiser Permanente and Anne T. and Robert Bass, this important study focuses on five key areas: 

  • Social Support & Interaction
  • Play & Active Recreation
  • Green & Natural Environments
  • Healthy Food
  • Walking & Biking

The final chapter addresses health care institutions, detailing ways in which they can take action to become placemaking champions in the communities they serve. 

The Case for Healthy Spaces

Supplementary materials are also available that include key findings and recommendations from the report, as well as a brief introduction to placemaking:

Download the Healthy Places Booklet

Download the Healthy Places Poster

This report discusses several elements of the built environment that can impact mental health and wellbeing.

The “built environment” refers to the human-made or modified physical surroundings in which we live, work, and play. Although the built environment may not be directly relevant to your work, this report still might be an interesting resource to review. Overall, to promote mental health and well-being, our built environments should:
• Prioritize safe, complete, clean, and welcoming neighbourhood design
• Minimize traffic noise and offer a variety of commuting options [such as well-maintained sidewalks, multi-use paths, and public transportation if feasible]
• Provide opportunities to view and access green and blue spaces [think parks, trails, rivers, and lakes!]
• Include spaces for accessible community gardens and healthy food retail [like farmers markets]
• Offer a diverse range of high-quality and affordable housing

mental-health-built-environment

Men’s Sheds are an initiative that aims to provide a safe space for men to gather and  connect. The Canadian Men’s Sheds Association (CMSA) describes Men’s Sheds as:

“Men’s Sheds are welcoming, supportive places for friendship and fun. They provide
opportunities for men to socialize, take part in activities, and learn something new. They are places were members can be themselves.

Men’s Sheds can be located in a variety of places, they may be made up of a few men or a
large group, and they may focus on one or more activities.
While locations, activities, and membership can vary from shed to shed, the core vision of
the Men’s Sheds movement is equality and inclusion for all members – regardless of age,
cultural background, ability, sexual orientation, income, or employment status.

Men’ Sheds is a grass-roots, bottom-up movement where the members decide what to do.”

Click here to check out the CMSA Men’s Sheds Toolkit

In many of our training and network discussions, we have heard interest in working to support men’s mental health from a range of perspectives. The linked toolkit from CMSA provides a deep dive into Men’s Sheds including the benefits, barriers, as well as how to start and maintain/grow a Men’s Shed. We hope to offer further information sessions on this topic, so keep an eye out for that in the coming months!

The Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas developed a Community Tool Box that has resources relevant to community work. 

Topics include:

  • Community change
  • Community assessments
  • Encouraging involvement
  • Cultural competence