An increase in mental health concerns prompted an Okotoks business coach to launch a non-profit group aimed at connecting entrepreneurs with resources.
Pamela Morgan, who runs the charity Baby It’s Cold Outside, said its new initiative, The HeadStrong Program, has been well-received by the Province and received grant funding.
In partnership with Wellness Innovate, The HeadStrong Program connects those in need of mental health supports with coaches, psychologists or trauma specialists based on circumstances, said Morgan.
“We have a really solid team and they’re the experts when it comes to mental health,” said Morgan of Wellness Innovate.
She said the idea first came to her just before COVID-19 hit, when mental health issues had surfaced for some of her business coaching clients in the Foothills and from elsewhere in Canada.
“As I was trying to navigate through our new norm, as we call it, the increase in mental health (concerns) just skyrocketed for me professionally,” said Morgan. “Then we were starting to notice with Baby It’s Cold Outside, on that side of the world with vulnerability, that things were increasing as well.”
Knowing the team at Wellness Innovate and seeing the needs rise made creating The HeadStrong Program an easy decision, she said.
As the pandemic wore on the impacts on business owners worsened, and across the country suicide rates rose while mental health resources were exhausted, she said.
“That’s a huge concern for me, because people are making final decisions and it doesn’t just affect that person,” said Morgan. “It affects their family, their friends, their community.”
She said it’s important people know not to give up, and that it’s okay to come forward and say they need help – especially during COVID-19, which is a new mountain to climb for everyone.
It’s not surprising to see mental health suffer as people are forced to live in isolation and are missing connections with others, as well as seeing their businesses and livelihoods fall.
“We need that energy, we need to have the contact – how could there not be an affect?” said Morgan.
People should also recognize it’s okay not to know how to navigate the pandemic or deal with feelings of loneliness during isolation, and resources can be made available.
That’s where she hopes HeadStrong will come in.
“We came to this well-equipped to make sure we come into the community and we can offer support to the entrepreneurs and their families,” said Morgan. “This is really a labour of love. This is a heart-centred project where we’re trying to help people.”
To learn more about HeadStrong visit www.headstrongprogram.com or find Become HeadStrong on Facebook or Instagram, or HeadStrong Program on LinkedIn.