Montreal area mental health initiatives get big financial boost

The Bell Let's Talk foundation announced this morning that it will donate $300,000 to Montreal area mental health initiatives.

Among the 16 organization that will split the contribution is Rivo Résilience, a group that specializes with helping new comers to the city.

“We mainly see refugees and asylum seekers who have a hard time functioning fully because of the trauma that they have experienced,” said Veronique Harvey, a clinician and psychotherapist working with Rivo Résilience.

There is almost always a moment, a few weeks after refugees land in Montreal, after the kids are in school and the dust has settled a bit, when reality starts to set in, according to Harvey.

She says every person that comes here from a war torn part of the world, many of them uprooted and displaced without a moment’s notice, eventually have to rebuild themselves and their identities.

Rivo Résilience provides support through that process.

“We’re talking about the kind of trauma that was caused by humans,” Harvey said, explaining that part of the recovering is restoring faith in humanity.

“We help them begin the process of recovery, so they can embark on their journey of reconstructing themselves,” she said.

It’s a process that is completely foreign to many Quebecers, which can be further isolating, she added.

"If we don't understand that someone cannot come to their appointment because they are afraid, or they are having panic attacks on the subway, we may think that the person is not involved,” she said. “Actually, it’s a mental health problem."

She says the number of people seeking help has almost doubled in the last year alone.

Another benefactor of the donation is Community Perspective in Mental Health.

With the money, the organization plans to establish a community support group on the west island, where people like Mark Walford, who have struggled with mental illness, can help raise up those in need.

“Because we have had the lived experience of mental illness, we can maybe better deal with and associate with people who are struggling right now,” he said in an interview with CJAD 800.

He says just the simple knowledge that you're not alone, can be enough to prompt somebody suffering in silence to reach out for help.


CJAD 800 is owned by Bell Media