Stettler FCSS is bringing a pair of programs focusing on mental health and wellness to the community at the end of November. (Photo/Metro Creative Connection)

Stettler FCSS is bringing a pair of programs focusing on mental health and wellness to the community at the end of November. (Photo/Metro Creative Connection)

Stettler FCSS brings a pair of mental health and wellness programs to the community

Stettler Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is teaming up with the Alberta Rural Mental Health Project to bring a pair of mental health-related programs to the community later in November.

First up is a program called “In the Know,” which is being offered in partnership between FCSS, the Alberta Rural Mental Health Project, and AgSafe Alberta to provide a mental health awareness program aimed directly at farmers in rural Alberta.

The program, designed by the University of Guelph, is meant to break down the stigma associated with mental health and awareness.

It teaches participants what mental health supports and resources are available in the community and how to recognize stress, anxiety, depression, acute trauma, suicide, and substance abuse. Most importantly, it teaches them that they are not alone.

“This is to raise awareness with farmers, and let them know they are not the only ones,” said Andrea Lee, the Rural Mental Health Project program organizer.

“They work under extremely high debt loads and are at the mercy of mother nature. They deal with a lot of stuff before the season even starts.”

Anyone interested in taking the “In the Know” program can do so in the comfort of their own home.

The program is being offered virtually on Nov. 26, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To register, sign up online at www.albertaitk.ca.

The second program, offered in partnership between FCSS, the Rural Mental Health Project, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Red Deer Outreach Centre, is the “Community Helpers” program.

“Training is provided to people considered helpers — people with empathy, care and compassion whom others naturally turn to for support,” said AHS senior communications advisor Tracy Kennedy.

“Helpers receive training including effective communication, self-care, coping with stress, knowing when to refer people to professional services, handling crisis situations, and suicide awareness, so as to develop skills to connect and strengthen communities.”

This program is being offered by a facilitator from the Red Deer Outreach Centre in two sessions. The first session will be offered for selected students at Wm. E. Hay Secondary Campus on Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. and noon, with teachers selecting some of who they see as being the “natural helpers.”

The second session will be opened to the community, running from 1 until 4 p.m.

Call Stettler and District FCSS at 403-742-2337 to register.

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available.

Stettler Mental Health can be reached at 403-743-2000, or a province-wide mental health helpline can be reached 24/7 at 1-877-303-2642.

If you are in crisis, go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital, or call 911.

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