Gateway Gazette

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta: Give the gift of a donation to our annual campaign

The Schizophrenia Society of Alberta (SSA) announces our 6th Annual Campaign

Faced alone, a diagnosis of schizophrenia can overwhelm individuals, their families, and caregivers. Thankfully with the support of mental health professionals, medications, caregivers and SSA programs, recovery is possible!
SSA programs and services are free to anyone living with schizophrenia, their families and caregivers to help them along their journey. SSA’s peer support, education, housing, supportive employment, community education, resources and one to one support are critical components to help maintain healthy families and empower
clients to live a fulfilling life after diagnosis.
Since we have incorporated online programming we are pleased to have increased
access to more Albertans in rural communities, who are isolated or have mobility issues.
This past year SSA served over 26,329 Albertans. Now that we have the technology to reach more people, we need the funding to help us meet our 2018 goal to support over 34,000 clients across the province.

FACTS

  • 1 in 100 people have schizophrenia.
  • Over 40,000 Albertans are living with schizophrenia, a treatable brain disorder; this does not include the families and caregivers whose lives are also significantly impacted.
  • In total, approximately 134,000 people in Alberta could benefit from SSA’s support programs.

GOAL

  • To raise $120,000 to increase access and support to 34,000 Albertans in 2018.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Make a Donation Online: You can make a donation online and receive an instant tax receipt by email.
  • Become a Monthly Donor: You can become a monthly donor and choose the amount and time of the month your donation is made.
  • Make a Donation by Phone: You can call our provincial office at 403-986-9440 to make your donation by phone or get our mailing address to send by mail.
  • Host a Fundraiser: You can host a fundraising event to help us reach our campaign goal.
  • Make a Donation as a Gift: You can make a donation as a gift. Choose a virtual card and add a personalized message that is sent the special person by email.
  • Make an In-Memory Donation: You can honor the memory of a loved one by making a donation in their name and choose to notify their family through a virtual card and personalized message.

You will receive a tax receipt for a donation over $20.

Story of Recovery

My Journey from Vietnam to Canada during grade one was an exciting but stressful time for my family. During high school, I decided to change my name from Lai to Tracey, hoping to become more accepted because it was becoming increasingly difficult to make friends. I found myself being tormented by other kids and became very lonely. I always had terrible nerves and started to become anxiety-ridden and depressed.
After I changed my name, I felt out of touch with my real identity, and I began to lose touch with my innermost thoughts. I didn’t know what was real and what I was imagining. I was 22 years old, and during that time I had majored in Microbiology and was accepted into the Dental program at the University of Manitoba.
I began to spiral in and out of consciousness and lost touch with myself. I kept having to look in the mirror and tell myself everything was alright. I felt depressed and lost concentration for my courses. When I came home that Christmas, my mother noticed a difference in my behavior. I was quiet and would go for long spans of time staring at nothing. Soon after that, I began to fail my studies. At the age of 23, I moved back home, while my visual hallucinations continued to become worse.That’s when I ended up in the hospital.
For most of my twenties, I felt really bad. I was hallucinating and always fearful to go outside. I kept thinking that people were talking about me. I began going to SSA for support where I learned more about my illness and how to manage my recovery. I learned it takes family support, my doctors, medications, ongoing peer support and programs to help me on my journey. By 27 I was feeling much better and was able to go back to my studies and graduate with a Science Degree.
To maintain my wellness, I now work for SSA as a Phone Peer Support Worker through their Supportive Employment Program. I have been trained to provide support to others who are isolated and learning about their illness. I help them stay positive and show through my own experiences that living a fulfilling life is possible and not to give up. It’s rewarding to be working in a positive and supportive environment, and it makes me feel good when I see those I am helping begin to attend our programs and start planning their future again.
This past September my mom and dad joined me as participants of SSA’s Open Minds Walk and Run to show our appreciation of SSA’s support. We urge you to support the Annual Campaign so that more people can start their journey of recovery.

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