“We see you.”
United for Mental Health Care –
KGH Foundation announces $1.7 million campaign
KELOWNA, BC, March 10, 2022 – “This campaign sends a clear message to those in our community who are struggling. We see you. And we’re taking action.” -Allison Ramchuck, CEO, KGH Foundation
The KGH Foundation is announcing today, a $1.7 million relief effort to fund desperately needed support for mental health care, right here at home.
“Mental well-being has been a critical concern in the region for some time, affecting people of all ages, genders, and socio-economic conditions, impacting some communities disproportionately more than others,” says Ramchuk.
“The pandemic has magnified the crisis.”
From January 2019 to December 2021, there was a 41% increase in moderate to severe mental health referrals in the Interior Health region.
The foundation is bringing together Okanagan-based, acute and community mental health care providers for their latest fundraising campaign that promises to provide both immediate funding for existing mental health care programs critically stressed under the weight of increased demand brought on by the pandemic, and resource collaboration and innovation in support of system change.
Ginny Becker, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Centre, Kelowna is a member of the campaign cabinet. “I am deeply grateful that this campaign will provide much-needed funding for what we as service providers critically need right now – in our case, this is immediate onsite access to counseling and mental health supports for children and families impacted by abuse and criminal trauma,” she explains. “This collaboration is necessary for our community. If we ever hope to build a system of mental health care that is sustainable, inclusive, and accessible to all, we are going to need to work together to build the solution.”
Danielle Cameron, Interior Health’s Executive Director of Clinical Operations, Community, also a member of the campaign cabinet and involved in the collaboration for system change, agrees. “Every day I am amazed by the dedication, professionalism, and compassion of the Mental Health and Substance Use teams here in Kelowna and across the region,” she says. “Yet at the same time, every day the demand for service continues to grow. In the wake of dual public health emergencies, and recognizing the broad impact of mental health, we need innovation, collaboration, and a renewed focus on prevention in order to continue to meet the needs of our communities.”
In 2017, the KGH Foundation partnered with CMHA Kelowna to raise $2 million to open Foundry Kelowna, an integrated mental health care centre for youth aged 12 – 24. Since its opening, Foundry has been a game-changer for thousands of young people and hundreds of families navigating mental health issues every year.
“Foundry Kelowna would not have been possible without the imaginations of those who were no longer satisfied with the status quo when it came to supporting youth mental health,” says Ramchuk. “Through collaboration, innovation, and ultimately, community support, a new model emerged. Foundry Kelowna not only provides critical care for youth and families, but its very existence is also a testament to what is possible when system change is prioritized and resourced.”
“This campaign comes at a critical time. So many are just coping and just hoping things get better. And with the right support, they can. But we must take action now. Mental health care is for all of us.”
For more information on the ‘We see you’ campaign and to give, visit kghfoundation.com
PICTURED: (left to right): Donna Jansons, Clinical Director, Mental Health & Substance Use and Allied Health (Central Okanagan), Interior Health; Danielle Cameron, Executive Director, Clinical Operations Community (Central Okanagan), Interior Health; Ginny Becker, Executive Director, Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna; Mike Gawliuk, Director of Service Delivery & Program Innovation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna; Shelagh Turner, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna; Dr. Alex van Duyvendyk, Physician, Kelowna General Hospital; Ellen Boelcke, Executive Director, Kelowna Community Resources.
Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class healthcare close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the interior of B.C. Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House, and Central Okanagan Hospice House.