NCCC Mental Health Services Evaluation
New Canadian Community Centre(NCCC) has held the “Mental Wellbeing Strengthening Project for Low-income and Vulnerable Seniors” under the Canadian Red Cross Grant of Strengthening Community Capacity to Support Mental Health and Wellbeing. NCCC has implemented various mental health services to promote the mental wellbeing of low-income and vulnerable seniors. An evaluation was conducted through survey and interviews regarding the mental health services held by NCCC.
According to the result of the evaluation, senior participants believe that they are more familiar with the mental health-related knowledge after participating the workshops, including mental health enhancement strategies, mental illness prevention as well as destressing techniques, which allow them to navigate the mental wellbeing challenges and cope with the difficulties. A participant commented that, “I had learnt some mental health knowledge that have never been taught before, I become more aware of my emotions and feelings after joining the workshops.”
Moreover, they believe that the activities were able to enhance the social connectedness among the senior members. Participated in the consultation workshops, they felt like there were social bonding among the senior members which they were able to share similar experiences and emotion. A safe and comfortable platform is offered to vulnerable seniors to express their true feelings, emotions; or even share their own personal experiences, which could help developing a supporting network and social bonding among the seniors; and eventually strengthening the mental wellbeing with the supportive environment. In addition, senior participants reported that they are more likely to access to mental health support and care with the involvement of the professionals throughout the project. Consultation and counselling were offered when there were needed.
Overall, the evaluation demonstrated that the project activities had a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of senior participants. The project successfully addressed the mental wellbeing needs of vulnerable seniors.
Based on the result of the evaluation, the project shows there had a positive impact on the confidence of our volunteers to engage with and understand the mental health and wellbeing needs of communities, the majority of the volunteers reported a positive result. They believe that they are more likely to gain deeper understanding of the mental health challenges faced by seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and have developed more effective strategies for addressing these challenges; for examples, forming social support groups and practicing mindfulness are effective ways to enhance mental wellbeing by healing their mind and body.
One of the volunteers mentioned that she felt more confident in their ability to communicate and connect with seniors, particularly those who are low-income and disabled. This increased confidence could be the result of the one-on-one communication and consultation provided through home visits, which may have helped volunteers and staff to develop a better understanding of the unique needs and preferences of individual seniors.
To conclude, the project not only resulted in positive outcomes for the senior participants, but also for the service providers, which have encouraged NCCC to keep striving to enhance seniors’ mental wellbeing through various professional consultations and workshops, and continue to provide training and service opportunities for our volunteers; resulting in the facilitation of community engagement on mental wellbeing support.