Calgary, AB,

Change Can’t Wait! video funding announcement for pilot projects to help with mental health and addiction issues

Today, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, with a group of convened community leaders, released a video announcing 15 new pilot projects representing a total funding investment of $706,769 to help Calgarians navigate and access the systems of care available in our city.

Thousands of Calgarians are affected by issues related to mental health and addictions every day. People need help, and many are falling through the cracks or getting lost between various systems of support. This investment into the health and wellbeing of our community is more important now than ever. Possibly even lifesaving.“We launched the call for fast pilots under the Change Can’t Wait! banner because we need to take action now,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “We can’t let the fear of failure get in the way of our will to succeed. This will give us data and real-world examples to inform the great work already underway by our Community Action on Mental Health and Addictions Stewardship Group.”

“We weren’t certain that these projects would be able to move forward, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we asked those organizations that had submitted proposals if they would still be able to execute given these challenges,” said Karen Gosbee. “The majority said ‘yes’ because Change Can’t Wait! We have incredible systems of support and care available in our city, and we’re so excited to advance this work during a time when we need it most.”

Community organizations are participating in the funding of the fast pilot projects - adding a combined $275,000.00 to the funds earmarked by The City. These organizations, together with The City, form the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction Community Investment Table. They are Calgary Health Trust, Calgary Foundation, Hunter Family Foundation, United Way of Calgary and Area and Viewpoint Foundation.

Dr. Chris Eagle is the co-chair of the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction Stewardship Committee, a group of convened community leaders, and says the Community Investment Table was instrumental in the funding process.

“We were thrilled to have these organizations participate in Mayor Nenshi’s video announcement and share the final 15 projects with Calgary,” says Dr. Eagle. “After launching our first call for Change Can’t Wait! fast pilot ideas in January, a collaborative decision-making approach was used to select the final 15 from an overwhelming 220 idea submissions. I am excited to hear the results of these projects in just a few short months.”

Change Can’t Wait! is a funding opportunity meant to find new solutions to help Calgarians struggling with mental health and addictions challenges navigate and access the services already available. The 15 ideas that received funding will launch in May and are expected to report back on results in mid-September.

See attachment for descriptions of the 15 funded projects. Visit to learn more.


2020 funded projects

Allocated amount


Recovery Coaches: Providing peer support for individuals with substance use disorder to navigate community resources and receive tailored care.


Alberta Health Services and Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary

Mobile Street Health Team: Connecting vulnerable Calgarians accessing Emergency Medical Services to social supports and community connections through health navigators.



Alberta Health Services - EMS Mobile Community Response Teams City Centre and Street CCRED (Community Capacity in: Education and Development)

Shelter Diversion: Supporting individuals entering the shelter system for the first time to navigate their mental health and addiction needs and connect them with the appropriate resources.


Calgary Alpha House Society

Language Link to Mainstream Mental Health: Providing language support for newcomers to access mainstream mental health services.


Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Service Navigation for Vulnerable Calgarians: Bridging and connecting Calgarians to the best resources for their specific needs across different agencies.


Calgary Counselling Centre and Canadian Mental Health Association - Calgary

Anxiety Workshops for all Calgarians: Training to deliver Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs for anxiety.


Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network

24/7 clinically moderated, online peer-to-peer support for Calgarians: Delivering digital, clinically monitored, peer-to-peer mental health services, courses and resources.


Canadian Mental Health Association - Calgary and Big White Wall

RESILIEN Confidential Wellness Wayfinder: Connecting Calgarians with relevant mental health services and peer support through a website/app.


Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary, RESILIEN and Synaptic Spinal Cord Neuro Rehabilitation Centre

Older Adult Men's Wellness Workshop and Peer Support: Delivering wellness workshops for older adult men to build knowledge, develop skills and connect with regular, ongoing peer support meetings.


Carya Society of Calgary

Accredited Wilderness Addiction Treatment Program: delivering a 30-day indigenous land-based-teaching treatment program for Indigenous youth.


Enviros Wilderness School Association

Seniors Mental Health and Addictions Outreach Team: Providing short term, in home care to seniors to increase protective factors, identify risk, navigate resources, reduce isolation and create safety action plans.


Jewish Family Services

Automated Self-Service Health Website: Connecting Calgarians to available mental health and addiction services, including community care options.


Peer to Peer Labs Ltd.

Online Connection Tool and Booking Solution: Connecting Calgarians to counselling services and appointment bookings with multiple organizations in one online tool.


Catholic Family Service of Calgary, YWCA, CUPS, Centre for Sexuality, Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary, Distress Centre and Collabo Systems

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST): Integrating ASIST training into the Faculty of Nursing curriculum.


University of Calgary - Faculty of Nursing and Centre for Suicide Prevention

South Asian Youth Mental Health (SAYMH) Outreach Ambassador: Training South Asian youth to become mental health ambassadors for the South Asian community.


University of Calgary and Punjabi Community Health Services