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The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

The call is out to the community to sign on with a new group that is all about building community connections.

Jamie Coston, volunteer programs coordinator with Rimbey Family Community Support Services, recently underwent Mental Health Animator training through the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“This training focuses on teaching people to create a network in their community to help each other,” she explained.

To that end, she is working on building a strong and extensive network in Rimbey with the goal of how best to support the needs of residents.

“In my mind, I would love to see people in our community from all groups and organizations so that we get a voice from everyone.”

Coston launched the first meeting via Zoom recently and already there is a healthy level of participation. But the more who come onboard, the better, she said.

“I look forward to building a network to identify and address existing services, community strengths and opportunities, promising practices, and to create a set of key strategic activities,” she said.

As mentioned, the concept to start the group came from some special training that Coston underwent this past fall.

“Every Mental Health Animator builds a network in their community, and the network then gets together to assess things, and then to decide what we think the issues and the problems in our community are,” she explained. “From there, we think of how we may try to address (those issues) and how to help.”

Coston said everyone is welcome to link into the Zoom meetings.

“I’ve been trying to reach out to groups, and if anybody feels they have a passion for it and has some ideas – we want them,” she said. “The more the merrier, and with more people we also get more opinions and more ideas,” she said. “We are all-inclusive – we accept anybody. The more diverse our group can be, the more we can help.

“We have all of these community groups and different things, and people who are wanting to make a difference.”

Better communication amongst the community groups will, in turn, help to ultimately streamline what is offered to the public.

“If we all work together, I feel like we can be a unified group that could create change and we’d be able to help the community even more,” she said.

Coston said the first meeting was a big success.

“We have an amazing group of people already. There are a lot of eager people who are ready to work and to try to find some more solutions, and to create further help and change in our community.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Training enables Animators to convene local stakeholders, including community members and elders, agencies, educators, and community associations, to collectively scan the current mental health and addictions landscape.

“Together, coalitions can set direction, generate solutions, and implement a transformational roadmap dedicated to supporting a mentally health community. Roadmaps will include action plans that strengthen the pillars supporting a mentally healthy community. This will identify: existing services, community strengths and opportunities, promising practices, and a set of key strategic activities to consider over the next three years and beyond.”

As Coston said, the scope can be far-reaching.

“If you can help every person in your community, that just makes your community stronger.

“I am also really excited to see our community pull together to help each other. Everybody has their own role that they play in the community, but until we all work together, we can’t really become a ‘full’ community.

“Even during the first Zoom meeting, it was the coolest thing because people were bringing up things and others were saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you guys did that! I’m going to call you for that’.

“Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out.”

For more information, give Jamie Coston a call at 403-843-2030 Ext. 4.

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