The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Vernon and District Branch is raising funds for its annual Gift of Hope Campaign to support mental health in the North Okanagan.

“Of course, this year has been particularly challenging,” said Julia Payson, Executive Director, “but we are here to bring hope and help, and to let our community members know that they are not alone.”

Donations help support local individuals and families across the mental health spectrum, from youth as young as 7 to seniors 75+.

“We are in a time of great need as this pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of many of us,” said Payson.

“Our team has been dedicated to adapting our programs, including adding new programming over the past nine months to ensure our community continues to receive services and to ensure supports are in place for the increased demand we are experiencing.”  

CMHA has received generous support from the community that enabled the organization to tackle the incredible challenges the pandemic brought this year. 

“We have continued to build connections and community for those living with mental health issues and their families who support them. Physical distancing hasn’t meant social isolation for so many individuals and families in our community,” said Payson.

Community donations help support the Crisis Line, which CMHA Vernon operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.  Calls to the Crisis Line saw a sharp spike in March due to the pandemic, which carried on throughout the year.  By October calls had doubled from the same time last year.

Youth education, early intervention and suicide prevention programs are 100% dependent on community support and donations.

“For those who are able to help financially, we want them to know their donations go a long way,” said Payson.

  • $25 can sponsor a mental health education course for low-income parents
  • $50 can support a youth or senior to join a mental health fitness course for a month
  • $100 can provide a youth with peer support and life skills for 2 months
  • $250 can sponsor a suicide prevention course for parents and caregivers

Donations to CMHA Vernon & District can be made securely online at, or by mail at 3100 28 Avenue, Vernon, BC V1T 1W3.

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