The Covid-19 pandemic and its associated effects is an unprecedented event within Calgary. Historically, the act of quarantine is more generally associated with individuals or groups with confirmed exposure to a contagious disease. However, a unique feature of the current shut-down has been the widespread effect regardless of individual exposure levels. While it’s important to honour public health recommendations designed to limit community spread of the novel corona virus, it is also important to note the psychological effects of this event. According to research, separation from loved ones, loss of freedom and routine, job losses and overall uncertainty can have dramatic effects such as suicide, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other negative mental health issues and disorders. (Brooks, et al., 2020) Risk factors include quarantines lasting longer than 10 days, being younger (16-24 years), being female, family composition, and having a history of psychiatric illness. While prevalence of PTST can be difficult to ascertain, some studies indicate that it can be as high as 34% of those quarantined. (Brooks, et al., 2020).
Since 2009, the Lionheart Foundation has been dedicated to supporting the mental health of adolescent girls and their families. Prior to the pandemic, 15% of Canadian youth were already presenting with mental health disorders making them at a higher risk of school incompletion and engagement in at-risk activities. Further, youth that develop mental health disorders are at a higher risk of carrying these challenges into adulthood. (Morena-Alcazar, et al., 2017) In recognition of these young people over 90 girls and their families are currently receiving mental health supports through the Foundation. However, due to limited funds, Lionheart’s is unable to sustain a large increase in demand from both families who are unable to support therapy as a result of job losses, and those with increased need as a result of quarantine.
The Foundation is subsequently seeking funds to ensure that continued access to community-based, individualized, affordable and flexible mental health supports remain available. Through a simple application process, any young person and their family seeking support is connected with a number of trained therapist, a therapy plan is developed and a subsidy plan is implemented. This approach ensures that therapy is long-term, flexible and confidential.
Lionheart Foundation is a charitable organization working to increase access to best-in-class mental health supports for children and adolescents experiencing anxiety-based mental health challenges and their families in the Calgary area. We do this by building awareness, financial support and therapeutic capacity to address anxiety-based mental health needs in our community.
Lionheart Foundation exists to increase access to timely, high-quality mental health care for youth experiencing anxiety-based mental health challenges and their families.
We do this by:
1) building clinical capacity
2) providing community education
3) providing financial subsidies for treatment.
Lionheart’s Subsidy Program provides access to timely, high-quality mental health care for youth (aged 8 to 28) experiencing anxiety-based mental health challenges and their families. The program offers subsidies to financially disadvantaged youth, aged 8 to 28, and their families to access therapy, nutritional support and psycho-educational supports. Psychological counselling, nutrition support and other therapeutic supports is offered through an approved Lionheart network of skilled therapists. Within our model, clients who require access to counselling to address issues related to anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation, can apply for a financial subsidy ranging from $10 to $180 session depending on their financial need. To support each client’s individual needs, there is no limit on the length or intensity of treatment that is supported.
Lionheart Foundation relies on donations and grants to operate. To provide a donation, please visit: https://lionheartfoundation.ca/donate-now/