Understanding, information, and support – every family who is touched by a mental health challenge requires these three essentials to navigate their daily lives. When a child is facing mental health challenges, it can be therapeutic and even life-saving to have contact with other families who have faced the same problems.
BC-based F.O.R.C.E. (Families Organized for Recognition and Care Equality) Society for Kids’ Mental Health gives families the opportunity to speak with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice. F.O.R.C.E also provides families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to support and assist children with mental health difficulties.
With the support of RBC, F.O.R.C.E. does more than connect families, it also educates the public. “This is something that affects four to five kids in every classroom of 30, so we are talking about a lot of kids in this country," says Keli Anderson, the F.O.R.C.E. Society's executive director. “And I just don't think people know the impact this has on families and how many families are experiencing this.”
F.O.R.C.E. is supported in part through the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project, a multi-year philanthropic commitment aimed at supporting community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues. In 2011, RBC selected F.O.R.C.E. as one of the local community charity beneficiaries for the RBC Canadian Open.
“There has been way too much parent blaming in the past, so families felt ashamed and isolated," Anderson says. "RBC’s support takes us from being alone in the trenches for so many years. They have ‘outed’ us. They have really been able to help us highlight what the impact is on the whole family and how important it is that people support it."
As well as providing funding to F.O.R.C.E. and other programs, RBC has compiled a network of organizations and experts through the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project that are trusted sources of information for parents and health care professionals who may not know where to turn for help.
Since 2009, the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project has been our cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar, and to date, we have donated more than $6.5 million to more than 125 organizations across Canada.