Julia Payson, Executive Director of CMHA Vernon & District. (Photo contributed)

CMHA Vernon raising funds for mental health education and support

“Donations from our community members will help those with mental health challenges across the mental health spectrum.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon has launched a fundraising campaign in the hopes to raise $20,000 for mental health this holiday season.

CMHA Vernon provides programs for nearly 600 participants each month, with early intervention and suicide prevention for youth, recreation and wellness, workplace training and reintegration through social enterprises, food preparation and nutrition education, meal subsidies, and low-income and supportive housing.

“While the size of the campaign may seem moderate, the scope is monumental,” said Julia Payson, Executive Director. “Donations from our community members will help those with mental health challenges, from youth to seniors, across the mental health spectrum.”

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Related: Vernon CMHA video showcases community support

Community donations help support the Crisis Line, which CMHA Vernon operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. Youth early intervention and suicide prevention programs are 100 per cent dependent on community support and donations. Community education programs are offered to youth and non-profits thanks to donations and fundraising.

“The past year has been one of growth and strengthening of our programs and services to provide vital support to vulnerable individuals with urgent mental health challenges,” Payson said. “From grief support sessions for families who have lost children and loved ones to suicide, to weekly peer support for the mom with depression; to the dad, the teen and the grandmother who needed early morning, late night and afternoon words of support from Crisis Line workers, CMHA is here for the many needs within our community. All funds raised stay here in the North Okanagan.”

Payson said she wants people to know that their donations go a long way. A donation of $25 sponsors a mental health education course for low-income parents; $50 sponsors a youth or senior to join a mental health fitness course for a month; $100 sponsors a local teen to attend Friday Night Live youth early intervention and suicide prevention program for two months.

“Any amount that people are able to give is greatly appreciated and put to valuable use for youth, families and adults in our community facing mental health challenges. Many of our program participants at CMHA have never had the opportunity to receive support and take part in activities that most of us take for granted.”

Donations to CMHA Vernon & District can be made securely online at vernon.cmha.bc.ca, by mail, by calling 250.542.3114 ext. 224, or in-person at 3100 28 Avenue Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Related: CMHA Vernon offers suicide prevention training in Vernon

Related: Vernon peer support group praised

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