PEI Alliance for Mental Well-Being Awards Over $1 Million in Enhanced Support Grants to Eight Organizations

Charlottetown, PEI – The PEI Alliance for Mental Well-Being is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022-2023 winter cycle of its Focusing Action for Positive Change Grant Program. The Grant Program supports organizations on PEI in their delivery of projects and initiatives that strengthen resilience and mental well-being. 

The 2022-2023 winter cycle featured the Enhanced Support stream, offering applicants up to $300,000 in funding over a period of three years.  

This multi-year funding aims to amplify and build up existing programs, policies, and initiatives. It can also be used for professional development, training, and the building of communities of practice.  

All funded projects focus on at least one of three evidence-based factors shown to strengthen resilience and mental well-being:  

  • Supporting responsive relationships 
  • Strengthening core life skills  
  • Reducing sources of toxic stress 

Awarded 2022-2023 winter cycle grants: 

The FocUs Program (Recreation PEI) 

For Islanders living with chronic disease, the FocUs Program will expand on the already existing Exercise for Health programs, offered in partnership by Recreation PEI and Beck Exercise Physiology, to create beginner-friendly and judgement-free virtual exercise and education sessions. The sessions will run for six weeks, engaging those living with chronic disease as well as their families and support networks.

With a concentration on purposeful movement, the FocUs Program aims to help over 100 Islanders improve their mental and physical health, leading to strengthened resilience in relation to the stresses they experience in life.

PRIDE 52 (Pride PEI Inc.) 

For years, Pride PEI has supported PEI’s local 2SLGBTQIA+ community by hosting the annual PEI Pride Festival alongside other programming and initiatives. Through this work, the organization has been able to identify gaps across the province.

PRIDE 52 will address some of those gaps through the creation of consistent programs and activities that run throughout the year and navigational services for 2SLGBTQIA+ community members. This will build on past initiatives like Coffee Catch Ups and Pride Talks which aimed to informally connect the community and create spaces for learning across PEI.

In this visible presence throughout the year with PRIDE 52, Pride PEI hopes to strengthen resilience by fostering stronger community connections and a sense of belonging. At its core, this work aims to break down the cycle of fear, isolation, and mental health challenges that many 2SLGBTQIA+ people may face when finding themselves.

The Creative Well-Being Initiative (Creative PEI) 

Based on the findings reached through the first edition of this project, Creative PEI’s Creative Well-Being Initiative will build out informed programming to improve the mental well-being of artists and arts sector workers. The programming includes a peer mentorship program to help artists connect with one another and navigate the stresses of their sectors and a free or sliding-scale therapy service for artists. There will also be the creation of an arts-specific helping tree, a refined annual artist well-being survey, support for Brain Story Certification, and two conferences that look at ways to address mental well-being within the sector.

Combined, this diverse array of programming and initiatives seeks to shift the sector’s perception and engagement with the well-being of artists as individuals and as a community.

Expanding Your Reach (Reach Foundation) 

Expanding Your Reach incorporates recovery support, skills development, and social enterprise activities into one program. Since 2018, it has supported hundreds of youth in recovery by strengthening resilience through social and emotional skills and facilitating the transition from recovery to the workforce or further education. This grant will extend the length of the existing program from 16 weeks to 12 months, addressing the requests of participants for continued support to implement the skills in daily life.

In the new program, the first 16 weeks will run as usual with a back-to-work component that helps participants identify their personal needs and develop self-confidence. Building on that, there will be a pre-program to help prepare participants for their journey as well as additional weekly support when they return to work or school.

In expanding the program, Reach Foundation aims to increase success rates in participant goal achievement and decrease negative outcomes related to substance use.

Evening Programs (BGC Charlottetown and Montague) 

Currently, BGC Charlottetown and Montague offers two evening programs at different points during the year in Charlottetown. Youth Night Drop-In and Evening Programming serve to increase access to the services and care that BGC provides.

Youth Night provides a safe and inclusive place for those aged 13 to 16 to socialize with peers outside of home and school. It also fosters leadership and agency while nurturing creativity. Evening Programming expands on the BGC’s traditional after-school programs and focuses on topics like food and physical literacy. In the evenings, a hot meal is provided to each attendee, ensuring that they are well-nourished and able to engage with the program to the best of their ability. Both programs help participants strengthen resilience and develop responsibility.

This grant will allow the programs to become a part of BGC’s core offerings. It will also see the evening programs grow through:

  • Increased capacity for new participants
  • Learning sessions from guest experts on topics like fine arts and computer science
  • Expansion to Montague
  • Elimination of any cost for participation

Milton Community Hall’s MVP – Most Valuable People (Milton Community Hall) 

The Milton Community Hall currently holds a variety of social and educational activities to bring its local community members together. These close-to-home activities help to make their neighbourhood a place where residents of all ages feel a sense of connection and belonging.

Milton Community Hall’s MVP – Most Valuable People project will build on the current capacity for programming and add 50 additional free or low-cost events, classes, and activities throughout the year. This will help the Hall reach over 4,000 visits from community members. Themes of health, relationships, creativity, nature, life skills, parental and family support, youth, and social inclusion will be drawn on.

The efforts of this project will see the growth of social networks and diverse skill sets– both of which can contribute to the strengthening of resilience.

PAPEI Suicide Prevention and Intervention Program (Paramedic Association of PEI) 

The Paramedic Association of PEI regularly provides all paramedics across the province with opportunities for professional development through continued education, building on their foundational knowledge.

The PAPEI Suicide Prevention and Intervention Program will expand those opportunities to provide certified, evidence-based training like Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training Program and Mental Health First Aid. Access to this type of training will improve the ability of paramedics to respond to individuals experiencing suicidal ideation and other psychiatric emergencies. It will also help paramedics support peers who may be experiencing personal struggles related to their own mental well-being.

As a professional association, PAPEI seeks to create a culture of education and encourage cohesion with allied first responders who paramedics work with on a daily basis. The program will invite 30 police officers (10 from each major policing service in the province) to take part in the training. The program will also allow for discussion between participants on their experience with the training and the impact it has had on their work and the care they provide to patients.

Community Navigator (CHANCES) 

For CHANCES, a Community Navigator initiative will serve as a tool for families in PEI facing additional life challenges. Community navigation, also known as patient navigation, aims to foster autonomy and strengthen resilience in families by providing guidance around the health and social care system. This guidance can facilitate timely access to services across the social determinants of health.

With a consistent virtual/in-person presence embedded into the CHANCES multidisciplinary team, the Community Navigator position will support families through a person-centered approach. This approach will work to reduce barriers, prevent negative health outcomes, strengthen resilience, and improve well-being. Working with families across all existing CHANCES programs, the position will also build capacity to streamline referrals and report gaps and/or barriers to services and programs.

As a result of this team addition, CHANCES anticipates a lessened need for families to require more “downstream” services.

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