Care4Caregivers: Mental Health Support to Build Resilience for Caregivers

P.E.I. Association for Community Living

Awarded Cycle

Awarded Amount
$49,273 1-year funding

PEI Association for Community Living

The Prince Edward Island Association for Community Living (PEI ACL) is a member of Inclusion Canada, a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial member organization and over 300 local associations. PEI ACL works province-wide assisting people who have intellectual disabilities and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their own lives and in their communities. They do this by sharing information, fostering leadership for inclusion, facilitating networking, connecting people and opportunities and promoting rights and values in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Your Life Design Inc.

Your Life Design Inc. is made up of a group of Canadian therapists and educators who work with children, adults, and families. They offer online therapy along with professional training, speaking, and group programs. Above all, Your Life Design Inc. operates with a vision to help people gain more resilience to move forward in their lives in a healthy way.

In life, caregivers shine as remarkable, devoted, and selfless people. However, their dedication to looking after others often means they have little time to care for themselves. This imbalance can lead to feelings of isolation and additional difficulties in their caregiving journey. 

Acknowledging these struggles caregivers face, the Prince Edward Island Association for Community Living (PEI ACL) partnered with Your Life Design Inc. to deliver Care4Caregivers, a program designed to provide a support system for full-time continuing care providers through group-based self-care and resiliency training. “We wanted to be able to try to carve out some time for them (caregivers) to realize that we see them…,” said Executive Director of the PEI Association for Community Living, Julie Smith.   

Led by qualified mental health professionals, Care4Caregivers offered comprehensive two-hour training sessions covering topics like stress management, coping with grief and loss, building resilience, and practicing self-care while fulfilling caregiving responsibilities.


Care4Caregivers sessions (four virtual in English, one virtual in French and one in-person on Lennox Island First Nation)

Caregivers participated

Overall value rating given by participants (an A+)


Over the year, six sessions were held, including four virtual ones in English, a virtual one in French, and an in-person session on Lennox Island First Nation. Over one hundred caregivers across PEI participated, making meaningful connections and finding comfort in a community that understood their experiences. “It is important for people to realize that…Oh yeah, I’m not alone. Everybody is there,” said Smith. 

For Jill Stewart, the founder of Your Life Design Inc., an objective of the program was to raise awareness of the assistance and support available to those who need it. It sought to normalize seeking help and emphasized that reaching out for support is not only acceptable but essential for caregivers.  


We wanted to be able to try to carve out some time for them (caregivers) to realize that we see them.
Julie Smith, Executive Director of PEI ACL

An evaluation survey allowed participants to offer feedback on the sessions. Overall, Care4Caregivers received a rating of 90% (A+) and an overwhelming number of respondents spoke about the value they found in connecting with others during the sessions.  “It wasn’t just a lecture… it turned into a real time of connection,” said Stewart. “We always say that connection is protection. It felt like we were like-minded people connecting and using concrete research.”

Inspired by the program’s success, the organizers hope to sustain and expand Care4Caregivers into the future. Stewart sees partnerships being a big focus, allowing other non-profit organizations to access local, quality, and evidence-based programming for professional and informal caregivers. “I would love to be able to do this again and offer more opportunities and connections not only within the PEI ACL but also outside of it, to other communities,” she said. For Smith, the opportunity for sharing extends beyond PEI and into national expansion. “It would be amazing if every ACL (Association for Community Living) could take this research after it’s been processed and looked at and possibly run this in other places across the country,” she said.