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Wednesday , 22 September 2021

Festival of Trees earnings donated to Mental Health Collaborative

Left to right: Members from the Bonnyville and District Chamber of Commerce, Doreen Kushnir from the Town Office, Alena Thompson, middle, from the Bonnyville Child and Adolescent Mental Health Collaborative, Mayor Gene Sobolewski, councillor Lorna Storoschuk, and councillor Brian McEvoy,  present the cheque from the Festival of Trees to Alena Thompson.

The town and Chamber of Commerce are supporting kid’s mental health.

On Monday, the Town of Bonnyville and Bonnyville and District Chamber of Commerce donated $20,667 earned from the Festival of Trees to the Bonnyville Child and Adolescent Mental Health Collaborative.

“It’s incredible. We have a lot we want to move forward with and this is gonna help us give more to the kids and expand what we can and do and enhance what we’ve been doing,” said Alena Thompson, Mental Health Navigator, at the Mental Health Collaborative.

The collaborative supports children and youth with ADHD, anxiety and depression.

They said they will look to use the money towards bringing more technology into the clinic, more online resources, enhancing their summer camp, and provide more in clinic services.

It’s much-needed support right now, said Thompson.

“We’re booking two months in advance for some of our appointments. We’d like to be able to give more support and this is definitely going to help,” said Thompson.

“It’s not getting them set up and then on their way, their length of stay in our clinic is getting longer because they have more needs they want to hit.

“I think their lives are complicated and complex and not just one thing is going to fix it. We need to look at all the different needs that the child has and address all of them.”

On April 4, the Bonnyville Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinic is hosting a mental wellness conference with the Margaret Savage Outreach office and Alberta Health Services.

“It’s a full day conference for the kids and then for the evenings, we have sessions for the parents. We’re going to cover marijuana, meditation, suicide. It gives some kids some physical activities to do and some mental activities to do and just to give them skills to enhance mental wellness,” said Thompson.

The clinic has four doctors, a nurse practitioner, and they work directly with two child therapists and collaboration with the schools in town. Their doctors, nurse practitioner, mental health therapists, and school teams see kids aged 6-17 weekly at their clinic.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.