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$21,000 grant catalyzes mental health initiatives in Millet

Odell said that this year Pigeon Lake, Westeros, and Warburg will receive similar grants
SMILES, a non-profit based out of the Town of Millet secured a grant totaling $21,000 from Alberta Mental Health Project.

In a development for mental health initiatives in the Town of Millet, SMILE, a non-profit organization, has secured a $21,000 grant from Alberta’s Rural Mental Health Project.

Torri Odell, the communication manager for the project, shed light on the strategic allocation of this grant and its impact on fostering community well-being.

“This grant utilizes different entertainment opportunities, including a music therapist and a comedy show, to bring the community together to talk about mental health and well-being,” Odell explained.

The grant’s focus on engaging entertainment mediums underscores a nuanced approach to addressing mental health challenges while promoting community cohesion and open dialogue.

Odell also said that this year, the organization will provide similar grants to other cities in Central Alberta, including areas such as Pigeon Lake, Westeros, and Warburg within Wetaskiwin County.

Odell said, “Two grants are allocated to Pigeon Lake and Westeros, and another grant is designated for Warburg Pigeon Lake in Westeros.”

This strategic distribution reflects a concerted effort to tailor mental health initiatives to the unique needs and dynamics of each community.

Rita-Anne Fuss, the director of SMILES, highlighted the collaborative spirit driving these initiatives. “Our second free event will be held at the Millet Agricom on May 31 from 6-8 pm,” Fuss said, emphasizing the community-wide engagement facilitated by SMILES.

The event features mental health comedy with Zandra Bell, alias Shirley Best, alongside refreshments and interactive activities.

Fuss also underscored SMILES Non-profit Society’s mission to destigmatize mental illness and promote open conversations. “We are trying to bring awareness and rid the stigma of mental illness for people to feel comfortable talking about it,” Fuss stated.

The involvement of local entities such as Millet Library, AHS, Millet and District Museum, Seniors, and Scouts further amplifies the collaborative effort in advancing mental health advocacy.

SMILES’s first free event was initiated on May 3.

Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative

About the Author: Qiam Noori, Local Journalism Initiative

I am a reporter for Black Press Media based in central Alberta.
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