Mental health is a conversation that never seems to fade from the zeitgeist of the world, and with good reason— Especially now.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on so many, and rates of mental health-related incidents have skyrocketed in Cochrane.
In July of this year, Cochrane RCMP Inspector Dave Brunner reported to Town Council that Cochrane RCMP has seen a 23.4 per cent increase in mental health related incidents in town in 2020.
Brunner said during the pandemic youth liaison workers dealt with many young people experiencing languishing mental health— Including interventions with 10-year-olds experiencing suicidal thoughts.
This week Canlin Energy made a generous donation of $5,000 to the Wayfinders Wellness Retreat, a non-profit that operates out of the historic Wineglass Ranch and aims to help first responders and military personnel recover from traumatic mental injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Paul Wagman, the founder of the Wayfinders said Canlin’s donation, and their promise to provide volunteer support for some of the projects happening at the Wineglass Ranch, represent an investment into the community.
“Really, they’re making an investment in the community, they’ve been talking about how this partnership that we’re going to working with, and them following what we’re doing, is going to contribute back to their organization in navigating mental health and knowing there’s a network of support out there,” Wagman said.
The Wayfinders not only help those seeking to heal from trauma, they also push forward the conversation around mental health.
Likewise, on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation the Îyârhe Nakoda Youth Program was looking to foster connections in the community through the Honouring Life Day Camp, which taught the children enrolled in the camp how to hunt, among other activities.
Program coordinator Gabriel Young said the hunting program exposed the youth to other community members who shared their knowledge of the practice, and gave them an opportunity to interact with elders, their families and other members of the community.
The program, Young said, was designed to foster a sense of “oneness” in the community, which in turn, makes the community a better place to be for everyone.
Both of those organizations, and so many others in the community— Like the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area, the Cochrane and Area Humane Society and the Cochrane Activettes— Rely on volunteer support to function.
Volunteering is an easy way to invest back into your community.
Cochrane is a special place to live, and it is because of the community-minded individuals who do the important work of taking care of the most vulnerable among us.
The Cochrane Eagle has covered dozens of volunteer-driven events over the years. Those events, and the volunteers who make them possible, are what make this community shine, and contribute directly to the wellness of the community.
With fall quickly approaching, and holidays right around the corner, there are sure to be organizations putting out calls for volunteers to help ensure that no one is left behind.
So many people are struggling right now, there is no better time to consider investing into Cochrane, to support the organizations that make this town a great place to live for everyone.