Health Foundation donation to Stigma-Free Society addresses mental health needs

Friday, Jan 28, 2022

Since launching in March 2021, the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit has provided mental health resources and training to rural communities across British Columbia.

For British Columbians living in rural and agricultural communities across the province, access to mental health resources and support services can be limited. An insufficient number of mental health care professionals in those areas and a lack of information about how to get help are often exacerbated by an enduring stigma around mental health issues. This poses a significant challenge as we know rural communities have some of the highest rates of mental illness in our society.

Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit

Stigma-Free Society—whose mission is to create awareness around mental illness and the various mental health stigmas that exist in the world—is alleviating some of those challenges with their Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit and Peer Support Facilitator Training.

With support from the Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation, the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit launched in March 2021. The toolkit provides mental health resources for rural audiences, including inspiring stories of mental health journeys of rural residents, mental health resources tailored for rural youth, adults, seniors, and families, and virtual events featuring a variety of mental health advocates and rural mental health specialists.

Another important feature of the toolkit is the Peer Support Facilitator Training Program. The program offers free workshops on mental health education and support to individuals who are living with or have overcome mental illness or stigma and want to learn how they can use their own experiences to help others. Programs are designed and delivered by people who have experience with mental health challenges and participants can then create their own peer support groups in their communities.

Since its launch, the toolkit has seen significant uptake in rural communities and has helped facilitate two workshops, helping train 18 new peer support workers. The peer support training has received tremendous reviews by participants. Those interested in taking part in the Peer Support Facilitator Training Program can sign up online. The next workshop will take place in February 2022.

“The workshop was a fun and thought-provoking orientation to a variety of tools for mental health peer support.”

“I recommend this course to anyone wanting to be a better friend, parent, spouse, co-worker, employer, or employee.”

“The world would be a better place if everyone took this course!”

              -Peer Support Training participants

The Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation will continue to provide support to the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit and Peer Support Training Program with annual donations through 2023 totaling $45,000.  

Learn more about the Rural Mental Wellness Toolkit and Peer Support Training.