KGH Foundation announces $1.7 M for mental health care

Severe mental health cases have gone up 41 per cent in the Interior

The Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) has announced a new $1.7 million campaign for mental health care.

“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,” said Allison Ramchuk, KGH Foundation CEO.

There has been a 41 per cent increase in severe mental health refferals in the Interior Health region from January 2019 to December 2021.

“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,” said Ginny Becker, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Centre. “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.”

The initiative will provide immediate funding for mental health programs around the Okanagan. Demand for mental health programs has risen greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” said Danielle Cameron, Interior Health’s Executive Director of Clinical Operations. “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.”

The KGH Foundation and CMHA Canada partnered and raised $2 million to Foundry Kelowna, a mental health centre for youth and young adults (aged 12-24) in 2017.

“This campaign comes at a critical time. So many are just coping and just hoping things get better,” said Ramchuk. “And with the right support, they can. But we must take action now. Mental health care is for all of us.”

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