‘Project All In’ sees support in Ponoka

The mental health advocacy project is about first responders mental health support

Sometimes an idea is so worthwhile it takes off instantly.

That’s exactly how events have fallen for a pair of firefighters and advocates of mental health. Chad Guenter and Gregg Schaalje started a fundraising idea called ‘Project All In’ a mere three months ago and it has seen growth like nothing they could have imagined.

Project All In is all about mental health advocacy for all first responders, explains Schaalje, about having those tough conversations around mental health care. Schaalje and Guenter grew frustrated with the number of first responder deaths due to suicide, he explained. It was starting to look like suicides were outpacing desk duty and they wanted to tackle that issue.

Project All In is a fundraiser for first responders who can buy these special coins that are intended to help raise the conversation around mental health needs.

It’s grown so much and so quickly that the pair had originally planned for 250 coins for the Canmore and Rocky View fire departments, but are now seeing over 3,400 coins spoken for with more on the way. Schaalje says the coins are already set to land in four countries and that 70-plus agencies, including the Town of Ponoka, are supporting it.

The coins are a reminder.

“You’re taking the baton from somebody that’s not thinking clearly,” said Schaalje.

The role of the first responder is to care for someone in need, he added, but it seems that sometimes those first responders are the ones left behind when they’re the ones in need. Project All In wants to fix that.

A portion of the proceeds from this project are going to Sheepdog Lodge in Cochrane, which is a project aimed at supporting combat veterans and first responders. The lodge is a cabin retreat providing a chance for first responders to reconnect and recuperate.

“We’re trying to raise awareness for the treatment end,” offered Schaalje, adding that coins sold in British Columbia or Saskatchewan will have money go to that province.

While he feels it’s unfortunate there is such a great need for this type of support, Schaalje is also excited by the solidarity. The idea of mental health supports is hitting such a nerve with folks that the pair have been asked to talk around Canada.

The pair advocate learning yoga, meditation and opening up the conversation around mental health needs. Schaalje calls these tools mind-strengthening. “That’s all part of us trying to break from the stigma.”

What’s next for the pair? To reach as many people as possible while also managing these next few months considering how quickly everything has moved.

Schaalje added his thanks to Ponoka CAO Albert Flootman for offering his support. “The Town of Ponoka has been amazing from the onset,” he said.

For those who wish to reach Project All In, the website: projectallin.ca has a contact form and the pair can also be reached on many social media channels.



jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Paradise Shores work stoppage frustrating for everyone: County

Notice of another appeal hearing posted on County web site late last week

Lunch for a great cause

Scotiabank hosts fundraising BBQ for the Central Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Society

100 Men Stettler gearing up for next meeting June 4th

Local group has raised thousands for community non-profits

Music in the Park kicks off in June

In just a few short weeks, great tunes will be heard in West Stettler Park

Stettler’s history richly showcased at local museum

The Museum features several original buildings from Stettler’s past

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Alberta NDP cries foul as Speaker Cooper names new legislature clerk

Shannon Dean will replace Merwan Saher as the clerk of the assembly effective immediately

‘Her life mattered:’ New trial ordered in death of Indigenous woman Cindy Gladue

In a 4-3 decision, Supreme Court said evidence about Cindy Gladue’s sexual history was mishandled

Emergency funds for High Level evacuees to start flowing by Monday

About 5,000 people in High Level and surrounding communities have been out of their homes for a week

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

No-vote option: Alberta legislature changing rules to allow MLAs to abstain

The changes are expected to pass, given that Kenney’s party has a majority of seats

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read