Sending love, appreciation and warmth forward on so many levels not just for the individual you love, but also for your extended family members, neighbours, coworkers, community members in need and strangers that would feel that warmth from the basics of a smile.
Here within St. Albert, there is always a ripple of kindness that once we begin you will never know how many people the positive energy will touch. Let’s continue to send out warmth and love all year.
Ask yourself what or how you or your family could contribute to a positive pivot today. We are blessed to have many non-profit and community organizations that work together to lift mental wellness for us all. Take a moment to reach out and discover some of our hidden gems and the tools they offer could be just what your mental health toolbox needs.
Our community received a tremendous blessing of $40 000 from the Rural Mental Health Project, a division of the Alberta Mental Health Association, this past year. This grant helps inspire community changes, increase awareness of local supports while sending out up lifting messages for all our community members. Through the collaborative efforts of our St. Albert Rural Mental Health Project Animator, Katrina Breau and Animator Jen Becker along with many volunteer efforts created this ripple which continues throughout our community. Katrina, Jen and others were seen at our past Community Expo, International Children’s Festival, The Mental Health Walk, St. Albert Pride Event, Farmers Market, along with additional events shining the light on the importance of mental health supports.
“We are using the month of February to send out ripples of love in the community, as this is the month people are focused on love due to Valentine’s Day. We are encouraging people to embrace the local supports they need, to check in with themselves, their friends and neighbours.”
Breau continues, “The grant empowered us to spread the message of the 8 domains of mental health through visuals on posters in buses and bus shelters, on signs along major commuter routes and on magnets that will go on school and leisure center lockers.”
These messages help citizens realize they are not alone and where to access help and encourages locals to look out for each other.
Breau explains, “St. Albert has many programs that support overall well-being. We are a community rich in resources – one does not always have to travel to Edmonton for programs or services. Just some of the programs we have right here in St. Albert include Girls on Fire, Stop Abuse in Families (SAiF), The Family Resource Centre, the St. Albert Seniors Association , St. Albert Food Bank and more.”
Residents are also encouraged to use St. Albert’s many amenities to help maintain their well-being. For example, when feeling stressed, try a walk by the river or take a stroll through our many city parks including our newest addition Grey Nuns White Spruce Park, or our two local Provincial parks, River Lot 56 and Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park. Being out in nature is very healing. Retreats are also a benefit with an affordable option by staying local at our hidden gem, Star of the North Retreat Centre within our community.
Take action and step out of the feelings of being alone in isolation, try joining a new group that offers exercise, socialization, a connection to nature and mental wellbeing for yourself and the whole family such as the St. Albert Trekkers Walking Group, or the St. Albert Sturgeons Junior Forest Warden’s.
Volunteering is also a wonderful way to improve your mental health or support the health of others. Many of St. Albert’s well-being programs are run by volunteers – there is always space for those willing to share their time and talents with others. These are all options to decrease isolation and engage the mind.
Choose to unplug to reduce overwhelming feelings we get from being stretched too thin. This can be a great way to recharge and an amazing gift for yourself this year to put into practice. Spend Quality time with the ones you love, blessing them by speaking words of affirmation.
Let’s all transfer that love you feel for our community into additional blessings by offering to give back through Random Acts of Kindness, financial donations no matter how small can all make an amazing difference in aiding our many organizations within St. Albert.
Breau concludes, “This February, think beyond Valentine’s Day. Think about loving yourself. Self-care is very important. Think about how you can show your care to your friends, neighbors and communities. When we send out ripples of love, we all benefit.”
Learn more about RMHN online and on Facebook. Keep an eye out around town as your local Animators post messaging about mental health and click here if you are interested in Community Animator training.