How To | May 14, 2021

5 mental health charities to support

Help expand access to resources for mental and emotional wellbeing. With a few clicks, you can support expert-selected charities.

This year, Mental Health Awareness Month in May feels especially timely. In the past year or so, it quickly became clear how many aspects of our lives buttress our overall emotional and mental wellbeing—such as jobs, daily routines, connections with family and friends, and even short, friendly interactions with strangers. 

There may be something positive to draw from this highly challenging time, according to Impact Ambassador for Low-Barrier Mental health Gary Thandi. “We have lost a lot of outlets for taking care of our mental health. But an upside is that people may be exploring other ways to find optimal wellbeing and mental being, like online apps, videos, and telephone or online counselling,” said Thandi. 

According to Thandi, this recent openness to learning and talking more about the issue is a continuation of a trend. “I have been in [the mental health] field for 20 years and it’s come a long way. Of course there still are issues around stigma and access, but there’s been a pretty significant shift in the way we communicate about mental health and the way it’s acknowledged,” said Thandi, who is the founder and executive director of Moving Forward Family Services.

“There’s been a pretty significant shift in the way we communicate about mental health.”

Research has shown that mental health issues can affect anyone, at any time. According to Canadian stats, one in two of us have or have had a mental illness by the time we turn 40. 

There are things you can do right now to help support your own mental health, like taking time for yourself and your needs. 

Psychiatrist, author, and Impact Ambassador for Mental Health Dr. Shimi Kang has spoken and written about ways to bolster your mental wellbeing while working at home, how to seek out play to find better coping strategies, and how to approach self-care with the same open mindset.

There are tools and resources available at the touch of a button. Still, seeking professional help or treatment can be critical. 

As a donor, you can help organizations reach more people in moments of vulnerability and need. “When someone reaches out for help, it’s probably not the first time they thought about it. They probably had a lot of struggles and it took an immense amount of courage to reach out,” said Thandi. 

“When someone reaches out for help, it’s probably not the first time they thought about it.”

Thandi and Kang hand-selected 5 Canadian registered charities focused on preventing, de-stigmatizing, and supporting mental health. Some are also tackling the pressing issues exacerbated or introduced by COVID-19 on youth, seniors, and individuals of all ages. 

Donate to 5 high-impact organizations with just a few clicks through our Impact Ambassador program: 

Coast Mental Health Foundation: Their support services operate on a housing-first approach, but they also provide community-based support services that offer a variety of important social, health and wellbeing, employment, and education opportunities.

YWCA Metro Vancouver: The YWCA Being Me program helps young girls overcome a number of difficult obstacles in maintaining a positive outlook on who they are and who they can be. The Being Me program provides young girls with the tools they need to overcome peer pressure, low self-esteem, and making tricky decisions as they transition to high school.

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: This centre helps families across the province navigate the mental health system, listen and offer peer support, and connect them to resources and tools.

Science World: According to Kang, “Science World is a place of primary prevention for children and adult mental health. Our natural antidepressants include curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, time in nature and, of course, a whole lot of fun! These activities release the powerful neurochemicals of endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Science World and its programming are keys to raising a future generation of healthy, happy, and successful kids.”

Moving Forward Family Services (MFFS): A mentorship agency providing counselling and social work practice opportunities to interns and new graduates beginning private practice. They receive funding for clinical supervision (supervisors who support interns and new graduates) and these supervisors in turn oversee an agency that has over 125 part-time counsellors, social workers, and interns on post-secondary practicums, providing support to some of our most vulnerable communities.

We understand most of us don’t have the time or resources needed to make the most informed giving decisions. That’s why we have launched the #ChooseYourImpact Campaign, connecting you to passionate changemakers and thought leaders—called Impact Ambassadors.

To verify the effectiveness of the charities selected, we have partnered with the Vancouver Social Value Fund (VSVF)—a youth-led fund created in partnership with the Vancouver impact community—and the Social Innovation Academy—a learning initiative led by UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing (SauderS3i).

As a donor, you can give with confidence to support a range of causes including access to food security, seniors’ wellbeing, violence reduction, and more. As Impact Ambassadors join, we will be adding more high-impact charities and causes that you can support with just a few clicks. 

Share this through social media.