Each year, CMHA divisions and branches across Canada provide service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff in locally run organizations in more than 135 communities. Founded in 1918, we’re Canada’s oldest not for profit organization. Visit CMHA National’s website to learn more about our rich history.
Guiding the activities of CMHA on a national level is the Framework for Support. Its referred to as the most comprehensive model for mental health planning by federal and provincial governments as well as by the Centre for Community Change in the US, and the Government of Ireland. For information please review the most recent edition of the Framework for Support, as profiled on CMHA National’s Public Policy page.
About CMHA Kelowna…
In 1956, CMHA Kelowna was formed by volunteers to support people with mental health challenges in an ongoing, weekly and non-institutional manner. By 1962, the Okanagan’s first resident Psychiatrist was appointed and the Kelowna General Hospital opened a seven-bed Psychiatric Unit. Volunteers from CMHA Kelowna visited the Unit every other weekday to bring the patients home comforts, facilitating in their recovery.
In an effort to bring awareness of mental health issues to the community, the organization launched an adult education program at the Kelowna Night School in 1967. It also introduced a series of lectures and meetings for women. The power of shared experiences, and open conversations converging around both mental health and illness remain a focus for the organization today. A host of individual and group workshops, as well as self-help offerings aim to support a mentally healthy Kelowna at work, home and play.
In 1972, CMHA facilitated the Discovery Club, a gathering place for seniors at St.David’s church. And in 1984 the Oasis Club set up in the Parkinson Recreation Centre to create support systems for underemployed youth. The Wellness Development Centre (WDC) situated in CMHA headquarters (site of the former church) now fosters a similar sense of belonging for members of its community. The WDC features activities like drop-in yoga and art classes and hosts programs like Peer Support Services, Kitchen Connections and the innovative youth initiative Connected By 25.
Over the next 40 years, CMHA Kelowna expanded its role from providers of supportive services to true guardians and champions of safe living environments and fair treatment. It opened two group living homes, McNair House in 1970, and Davies House in 1986. Today, CMHA Kelowna continues to advocate for access to affordable, safe and secure housing with two direct housing projects, Willowbridge Transitional Housing and Rosemead Apartments. Since 1984 it has also delivered experiential training programs to help people develop the skills to find and maintain gainful employment. Early landscaping, painting and administrative opportunities made way for a food service operation and thrift shop in 1991. Which laid the foundations for CMHA’s modern day social enterprise, Meals Matter.
Today, a multi-stakeholder Youth Transitions Working Group supports young people vulnerable in their transitions to adulthood. As a partner agency, CMHA Kelowna is helping to deliver LINC, an intake, assessment, and service delivery hub for youth and young adults aged 16-24.
Future forward the organization aspires to establish a mental health hub, bringing service organizations together under one roof with dedicated space for youth transitional housing. Given one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life, helping people to get the right level of support, at the right time is mission-critical for CMHA. With a mentally healthy Kelowna in mind, staff, volunteers, partners, donors and funders continue to co-create innovative new solutions that are informed by nearly six decades of formative work in the community.