A Dollar A Day Foundation invests in MHCC’s HEADSTRONG youth summits

It’s a partnership based on promoting youth mental health and creating young champions.

And it’s the best way to describe the recent joining of hands by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC’s) celebrated HEADSTRONG youth anti-stigma program and the A Dollar A Day Foundation.

It all came together this past February when the foundation presented HEADSTRONG with a $15,000 cheque during an event-filled day that included an appearance on Calgary’s Breakfast Television program and a feature spot on Sportsnet’s Hometown Hockey in Okotoks.

The message was loud and clear: this investment will go a long way toward supporting HEADSTRONG, which has taken flight across Canada.

Launched in 2014, HEADSTRONG summits bring together students age 12 to 18 to participate in a two-stage program. First is a comprehensive day-long event that engages young people and inspires them to talk openly about mental health and stigma. Then, the students get the chance to extend their engagement through in-school projects with their fellow pupils, teachers, families, and communities.

It’s a communication and dialogue gift that keeps on giving.

“This donation from A Dollar A Day will make a real difference,” noted Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the MHCC. “It will help support 15 HEADSTRONG summits, aiding about 82,000 students through the program’s cascading reach. Gifts like this from dollar-a-dayers are the reason we're doubling our work each year, with 90 summits so far and another 50 planned for the 2019-2020 academic year.”

A Dollar A Day, founded a little over a year ago by musician Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea fame), Dr. Andrew Furey, and businessman Brendan Paddick, is a simple, affordable, and empowering way to support front-line mental health and addiction programs. Basically, they ask people to give a dollar a day (or more, or less) and then turn that money over directly to programs in need — like HEADSTRONG.

“Mental health issues affect all of us,” said Doyle. “So, we all need to take ownership of the problem and work together to find solutions.”

“While there is definitely opportunity to make a difference in our own respective ways, we believe that we can lead a movement for change among all Canadians for improved access to mental health and addiction care,” he added. “When everyone has an equal chance to take ownership of a universal issue — by bringing corporate dollars and public dollars together, as a united voice for change — we can achieve so much more and have a far greater impact in our collective communities, and that benefits everyone.”

Today, the momentum around HEADSTRONG continues to grow. In late March, HEADSTRONG will team up with Mental Health First Aid First Nations for the first-ever dual event in Constance Lake First Nation, Ontario.

What’s next for our friends at A Dollar A Day? They’re looking for more opportunties: “Right now, there isn’t enough being invested in front-line programs that assist people with mental health and addictions challenges in a timely manner. We want to change that.”