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Supporting children’s mental health in Calgary

New funding for Hospice Calgary will give over 2,000 children, teens and their parents access to grief counselling when dealing with the loss of someone close to them.

Supporting children’s mental health in Calgary

MLA Payne presents the declaration for children’s grief awareness day with counseling staff and Sage Centre ambassador and former client Chelsea Savage.

With the increased demand for mental health supports, the Alberta government recognizes the importance of making sure these programs have the funding to continue. This $500,000 grant ensures these important counselling services and programs provided by Hospice Calgary remain available for Albertans.

“No child or family should grieve alone. Local programs like those of Hospice Calgary make a huge difference for families that are struggling with the death of a loved one. Access to mental health supports is vital to support grieving children and helping them to build resiliency.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

Funding is supporting professional counsellors and group programs for children, youth and their parents dealing with grief resulting from the death of someone close to them due to homicide, suicide, accident, overdose, or sudden medical or terminal illness. Counsellors also see families as they face advanced illness.

At Hospice Calgary’s Sage Centre, no one is turned away due to financial obstacles. Counsellors also travel to schools, homes, hospitals and hospices, making mental health services easier to access for grieving families.

“This grant will help to support our programs during a time when community-based fundraising is challenging. We are pleased to be able to partner with the Alberta government to ensure that children and teens have the help they need during times of grief.”

Sarah Walker, executive director, Hospice Calgary

Increasing mental health supports for children and families was identified as a priority in the Valuing Mental Health review. This announcement was made as part of Children’s Grief Awareness Day, declared for the first time in Alberta.

Quick facts

  • Hospice Calgary is the only organization in southern Alberta that specializes in child and adolescent grief, serving the community for over 25 years.
  • The organization has two centres of care:
    • Rosedale Hospice – seven-bed hospice home for adults dying of cancer and their families.
    • Sage Centre – home to educational offerings, an award-winning Living with Cancer Program, Community Hospice counselling and group services, and Child and Family Grief Services.
  • Last year, 564 children, 416 teens and 1,166 adults accessed Child and Family Grief Services before and after a death.
  • Hospice Calgary’s Child and Family Grief Services is the primary referral source for schools, health and mental health professionals, and the Victims Assistance Services Teams of the RCMP and Calgary Police Service.

Media inquiries

Government of Alberta