Communitas Receives Bell Let’s Talk Grant
When you’re living with mental health challenges, it’s important to find people who understand and support you. Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund, Communitas is pleased to expand two supports to people in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Mission that can help them on the journey towards mental wellness.
Peer Support and the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) are two services that Communitas has offered for years. Normally, these services are accessed through a referral from a mental health care provider. Using the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund grant, Communitas is making these services available to people who may need them but who are not under the care of a mental health provider.
We’ve seen the valuable support that Peer Support and WRAP can have in people’s lives and we were hopeful that we could make these services more broadly available to the community. With the help from Bell Let’s Talk, this hope has become a certainty. – Karyn Santiago, Communitas CEO
“Bell Let’s Talk is pleased to support Communitas to help expand the Peer Support and Wellness Recovery Action Plan services to help more people in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission access mental health care,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “The 2019 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund is supporting over 120 organizations across Canada, like Communitas, that are providing meaningful mental health support to their communities to help people living with mental illness.”
The Bell Let’s Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research and workplace leadership initiatives. Learn More.
The Peer Support and WRAP services can make a big difference, as Adria Roberts and Brian Kroeker explain.
Wellness Action Recovery Plan
WRAP was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland who believed that recovery is possible for each person. Her five key concepts – hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and support – enable each person to customize a wellness and recovery plan that works for them.
For Adria Roberts, WRAP has had an enormous impact on her mental health. Adria’s journey began more than six years ago when voices, hallucinations and an experiment with drugs led to a psychotic trip, hospitalization and a diagnosis with Schizophrenia. After being released from the psychiatric ward in Chilliwack, Adria joined a community support group where she was introduced to WRAP. She credits this program for enabling her to regain her life.
“WRAP taught me a lot about myself and my journey with mental health. It gave me a feeling of hope,” she says. “It’s given me wellness tools so I can help myself when I don’t always feel like there is anything else that will work.”
Today, Adria works for Communitas as a Peer Support Worker (PSW), walking alongside others who are on the journey with mental illness. She has also trained to be a WRAP facilitator and recommends WRAP to anyone seeking to improve their mental health.
“It can change your life,” she says. “You can go from being someone in despair to having the tools that give you hope!”
Peer Support provides support toward recovery through group learning and one-on-one support from a staff member who has lived experience of mental illness.
“Having someone walk alongside you who knows where you’ve been makes a big difference,” says Brian Kroeker, a PSW and WRAP facilitator with Communitas.
Brian, who lives with Anxiety, Depression, and Schizophrenia, chose to become a PSW after a positive experience with his own support worker. He knows what it is like to be paralyzed by sadness, to feel paranoid, and to hear voices in his head. He was hospitalized nearly ten years ago and received medication to help keep him stable. Through it all, he has had the love and support of his family, friends, and support workers.
Today, Brian is managing his mental illness and enjoying life. He is excited about the opportunity he has to coordinate this new program on behalf of Communitas and make Peer Support and WRAP available to those who need it.
“I know this can make a difference in someone’s mental health,” he says.
Photo at top: Bell Let’s Talk presented Communitas with a $20,000 cheque at the organization’s Annual General Meeting. L-R: Michael Linberg a clubhouse member at Centennial Place, Janine Pearce from Bell Let’s Talk, Adria Roberts (WRAP facilitator), Brian Kroeker (Peer Support Worker), and Gary Falk, Communitas Board Chair)