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The Mental Health Foundation: A Better Future in Mind

Established in 1998 as the Alberta Hospital Edmonton Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation is built on the principle of transforming care for mental health and addictions by fostering resilient organizations and communities. Currently, the estate of Deeann Maria Kolbuc is matching donations to the Foundation up to $25,000.

The Mental Health Foundation  has a better future in mind for everyone, regardless of age or life stage, that supports mental wellness, breaks down stigmas, and encourages open dialogue. A future where we have become comfortable with uncomfortable, removed shame, and where we support one another through education, awareness, research, and patient supports.

Historically, these issues have been either under-supported or completely neglected, often shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding. With the assistance of donors like you, and the generosity of Deeann Maria Kolbuc’s estate, the Foundation is rewriting this narrative.

The Urgent Need and the Stigma

The stigma persisting around mental health is alarming – and deadly. Sadly, 40% of parents hesitate to admit that their child has a mental illness, even to their family’s doctors. Alarmingly, 60% of people suffering from mental illness suffer in silence, for fear of being labeled.

CEO of the Foundation, Deborah McKinnon says “A staggering one in five Canadians suffer from mental illness. In the workplace, 35 million workdays across Canada are lost annually as employees struggle to work while battling their illness.”

“These statistics have a wide-reaching ripple effect; it’s not just one person that winds up suffering – the effect reaches family, friends, co-workers, and ultimately the communities in which we all live,” continues McKinnon. How? Because, when someone is in the throes of mental illness, it’s not just the stigma holding them back from getting help – it’s the fear; making it nearly impossible to reach out. One of the goals of the Mental Health Foundation is to fund education and increase awareness so individuals, friends, family, and co-workers can better recognize when someone is struggling and be in a position to provide guidance.

But what of those who do reach out? While there are many wonderful resources available, the system of mental health support can be costly and frustrating to navigate. When one is struggling to get out of bed, running the gauntlet of calls and costs can be daunting. All this can add up to people trying to navigate the serious illness of mental health on their own, and being in this position can potentially lead to substance use, loosing hope, or considering suicide – all of which are growing issues across the nation.

None of this has to be the reality. Mental health is central to all health, and like the common cold or a broken bone, it can be treated with the right approach and with widespread access to information, education, and support.

With a light of hope, McKinnon shares ”Every donor is a superhero. Through their generosity, lives are being changed. We are on the path to improving access to critical services, across the province, to help with mental health and addictions care. And right now, all one-time and monthly donations are being doubled! We cannot over emphasize the importance of this amazing opportunity."

The Mental Health Foundation’s Impact and Initiatives

It is the Mental Health Foundation’s vision, mission, and goal to create a province where people can access care for mental well-being and addictions. A tirelessly pursuit actioned by collaborating with stakeholders, embodying resilience and ambition, and being transparent and accountable in their work. The Mental Health Foundation is not just about providing immediate support; it's about building a future where mental health care is accessible, stigma-free, and effective. It envisages a society where everyone understands that mental health is as critical as physical health.

The resources gathered by the Foundation are channeled towards vital initiatives and services, patient assistance, research, and education. Initiatives include:

  • Kickstand, is a ground-breaking and award-winning initiative offering comprehensive mental health support and substance counselling, with a special focus on young Albertans (aged 12 - 25) and the adults who care for them. Kickstand provides a single point of access for a wide array of integrated services that range from physical and sexual health support to mental health and substance use interventions, employment, and other social services. This innovative platform also offers workshops focusing on many pertinent issues such as eating disorders and cannabis use, and aims to increase food literacy among the youth.
  • Alberta Hospital Edmonton is a fully accredited psychiatric hospital providing comprehensive mental health services, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment, consultation, education, and research. A place of hope and healing where patients are treated with dignity and care.
  • Access 24/7 provides adult addiction and mental health services. This one-stop-shop offers interventions, treatments, support and navigation services, crisis outreach, information, assessments, and referrals.
  • More Good Days provides young people with text-based mental health support.
  • The rTMS Program offers an alternative treatment for those with treatment-resistant depression using Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). This non-invasive procedure stimulates targeted areas of the brain responsible for regulating emotions.
  • Research and Innovation: The Mental Health Foundation is deeply invested in mental health research and innovation, leveraging these insights to create meaningful changes in people's lives, their communities, and workplaces.

The impact of MHF's work is far-reaching, with numerous success stories testifying to lives transformed through their initiatives.

Supporting the Mental Health Foundation

Have you been looking for a way to make a difference in your community or for your friends and loved ones? You can make a big difference and help change or even save lives by supporting the Mental Health Foundation. Contributions help address areas of greatest need, support programs and services, fund research, enhance facilities, and aid patients, as well as education and awareness. Every donation, no matter its size, makes a difference and contributes to the transformational change in the care of mental health and addictions.

It’s easy and practical to donate to the Mental Health Foundation. Ways to give include one-time or monthly donations, which are easily done online, hosting a fundraiser, leaving a tribute or legacy, or donating your old car.

Now is a crucial time to donate, as the estate of Deeann Maria Kolbuc is matching all gifts until December 31st, doubling the impact of each contribution, up to $25,000!

Deeann Maria Kolbuc, born on November 22, 1965, passed away on April 19, 2022. She was known for her courage, strength, and unrelenting hope as she battled mental and physical challenges throughout her life. Despite her struggles, Deeann showed resilience and never lost her sense of humour. Her battle with mental health taught those around her the importance of open dialogue and advocacy for mental health. The Mental Health Foundation is very grateful to her estate’s donation matching initiative. This kindness will have a transformative effect on the goals and the people the Foundation serves.

A Better Future in Mind

We are all affected by mental illness, whether we are suffering or are affected by the suffering of a loved one or community member. The Mental Health Foundation is changing – and saving – lives through a variety of targeted initiatives and programs. You can be a fundamental part of this change. Any donation, big or small, has a massive impact that ripples outward now, and far into the future.


Connect with the Mental Health Foundation if you need support, would like to learn more, or to donate to the cause. Learn more online and on Facebook, X, Instagram, and YouTube.

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