Carya Society of Calgary

we serve these populations

  • aging population
  • children and youth
  • women

we need help with:

  • mental health
Carya, formerly Calgary Family Services, has deep roots in the City of Calgary.

Our Vision: Strong families and communities to reach their potential
Our Mission: Engaging individuals, families and communities to reach their potential.

Carya is a social impact agency that has been responding to the evolving social needs of the Calgary community since 1910. With over a century of expertise, we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but remain rooted in our belief that everyone, regardless of circumstance, deserves access to the support they need.  By reducing barriers, Carya impacts the lives of thousands of Calgarians each year through comprehensive programs and services that enhance mental well-being, strengthen families, improve living conditions, and create meaningful social connections that create strong families and communities for generations.

Carya offers free or low-cost programs in four interconnected impact areas:
1. Improving Mental Health: Carya seeks to protect and strengthen mental health by providing evidence-based counselling and support interventions to reduce psychological distress, increase resilience, and improve behavioural health. Mental health across the lifespan directly impacts and is impacted by social connection and family functioning. The relationship between mental health and social connection is complex and bi-directional: People with mental health challenges often experience interpersonal difficulties that lead to social isolation; likewise, social isolation and loneliness can exacerbate or cause mental health challenges.

2. Improving Family Functioning: Carya seeks to strengthen parents and families by providing evidence-based interventions to support positive parenting practices, improve family functioning and cohesion, and prevent and stop elder abuse. Parental mental health influences parenting behaviours, which shape children’s mental health across the lifespan, along with the ways they parent their own children and care for their aging parents. Family functioning both influences and is influenced by mental health and social connection.

3. Improving Living Conditions: Carya works to improve the living conditions of vulnerable Calgarians through financial wellness and food skills programming, and comprehensive one-on-one supports for older adults to help them obtain what they need to live well. Poverty and its outcomes are associated with a long list of interrelated poor health and social outcomes at the individual, family, and community levels.

4. Increasing Social Connection: Through social connection groups and opportunities offered throughout the city and at Carya’s community hub, Carya seeks to strengthen social connection, social support, and a sense of belonging among individuals and communities, often through a community development lens. Social isolation is associated with a wide range of poor physical and mental health and life course outcomes for people of all ages.

The Need

Now more than ever, Calgarians face many challenges that impact their quality of life and mental well-being. External stressors, particularly in a post-pandemic world, are leaving community members with significantly increased levels of stress, depression, and anxiety while having limited access to affordable mental health resources.

Carya is seeking $1.5 million to strengthen mental health and counselling services to meet the emergent needs of an additional 2,500 individuals by 2025.

In 2022, Carya’s team of experts provided over 18,500 counselling sessions to nearly 2,800 Calgarians in need with data indicating significant improvement in mental well-being among participants. However, many more people are waiting to access Carya’s services. Carya is facing increased demand and increased complexity of needs while at the same time, facing stagnant or decreased government funding. This means that wait times to access these critical services continue to grow.

By working with individuals and families from various locations across the city, including virtual sessions, Carya works to reduce barriers and provides affordable mental health supports when and where community members need them.

Programs You Can Make Possible

1. Counselling Services

Through evidence-based models for managing conflict, depression, anxiety, and more, Carya looks for strengths in clients and approaches every situation without blame or judgment. carya strives to provide a variety of counselling programs and services to meet the evolving needs of individuals, families, and older adults in the community. Where possible, Carya may even be able to pair a multi-lingual counsellor with individuals who are English Language Learners, conducting sessions in the individual’s or family’s preferred language.

  • Carya’s Family Counselling programs boast outstanding success in improving family cohesion, the closeness of the family unit, and the emotional connections among members.
  • Functional Family Therapy is a structured program for families of children and youth who are dealing with complex problems like delinquency, mental health concerns, criminal involvement, substance abuse and violence. Research shows that not only did family functioning and youth mental health improve, behaviours associated with delinquency and criminal involvement decreased.
  • Older Adult Counselling clients saw a significant increase in social inclusion and received more practical assistance in their home lives, allowing them to “age in place” in their communities.

2. Group Programs

Beyond formal counselling services, Carya offers a variety of group programs that focus on providing support in areas such as grief and loss, anxiety management, unpacking emotions, and more. These programs focus on building resiliency, mitigating mental health crises, and enhancing mental well-being.

More than 1 in 2 people who are struggling with their mental health are not getting the help they need. You can change that.

With your investment, Carya will be there for Calgarians when and where they need it most. Your support will help to embed key prevention programs to build resilience and provide comprehensive mental health and counselling services for individuals and families in your community.

To learn more about Carya’s impact on the community, visit the Our Impact page on our website.


Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Tiffany Stevenson

Director of Social Investments



More Info

Charity Number: #118823475RR0001

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Financial Statements / Annual Reports

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