The Project Mental Health Matters organized an evening walk with the Town of Drumheller and the Association of Communities Against Abuse last month.

Involved in the Out Of The Darkness Mental Health Walk was a fundraising aspect with a silent auction. Wanida McHugh with Project Mental Health Matters is pleased that the event was able to raise over 1,700 dollars for the cause.  “We raised all together 1,765 dollars. I am so overwhelmed with all the people that came, and said thank you for doing this. It was a wonderful, amazing turnout for first year.” Stephanie Hadley (left) Executive Director of the Association of Communities Against Abuse accepts the donation from Wanida McHugh (right) of The Project Mental Health Matters; Image courtesy of Wanida McHugh

McHugh shares that it is not all about the walk more the community support is key. “It is much needed, I think more right now than ever. Suicide rates are at a maximum high, higher than they have ever been, along with addiction and mental health. 

The Association of Communities Against Abuse (ACAA)began in the 1980’s when a group of people from East Central Alberta began talking about a significant number of child sexual abuse cases they were seeing and noticing the lack of services available.  This situation led to the formation of the community-based board representing all of East Central Alberta. Funding for ACAA comes from the Public Health Agency of Canada (federal government), Alberta Health Services Ministry of Community and Social Services (AB government), Ministry of Justice & Solicitor General (AB government), and donations from numerous non profit groups, corporates sponsors, and fundraising initiatives.

With COVID, mental health has unfortunately taken a back seat by Alberta Health Services, according to McHugh. “I know that there is a facility in Camrose, where they take people in that have mental health issues, and they’ve had to close the doors because the nurses are needed elsewhere. I think it’s a very important facility to have for people that are struggling to get the help that they need to get better.”

McHugh thanks the community, the Town of Drumheller, ACCA, and her friends and family for the support.  She is planning for another walk in May for Mental Health Week and will provide details as they become available. </…….


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