Canada Post hails record mental health fundraising efforts

A record number of community mental health organizations in Canada are set to benefit from the fundraising efforts of Canada Post this year. The post said yesterday that its staff and customers raised more than $2.2m in last year’s campaign for the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health.

The Foundation provides funding for non-profit, community-based organizations that offer care for people coping with mental illness.

Canada Post customers raised $1.1m last autumn through small donations within post offices across the country. Sales of the third annual Mental Health Stamp brought in another $306,000, with a dollar from every booklet of 10 stamps going to the Foundation.

Postal employees in Canada also pledged more than $320,000 to the Foundation through a payroll deduction system.

The fundraising was taken over the $2m mark with further fundraising efforts by staff and suppliers, including Canada Post employee Wayne Stremel, who completed a cross-country bicycle ride.

James Roche, chairman of the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health, said: “The support shown to the Foundation and its mission to build the capacity of community mental health organizations will make a difference in people’s lives. We are very proud to provide this level of commitment to an issue that affects so many Canadians.”

Mental illness affects around seven million people in Canada – about one in five Canadians – and yet mental health accounts for just 4% of medical research funding.

The Canada Post Foundation has been raising money for mental health since 2008, and has already raised $4.8m. Grants totaling $2.5m have already been handed out to 51 non-profit organizations providing front-line care and other support for those with mental illness.

More than $2m will be handed out in 2011, Canada Post said, with expectations that more than 90 groups will have received support by September.

“The isolation and despair that often comes with mental illness makes it a disease like no other,” says Mr. Roche. “The organizations we’re helping – and those we’ll be able to help because of the success of this campaign – provide critical support systems. The need is significant, and we are grateful to Canada Post employees and their customers for making a difference.”

For more information on the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health, see canadapost.ca/hope.

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