The Northern Interior division of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society was one of the first charities to benefit from the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health.
Canada Post local area manager Ken Bukar presented the society with $43,000 Friday, to train family support and education workers.
Canada Post has set a goal of raising $1.5 million to support mental health in 2009-10 through a special line of stamps, an employee donation program and customer donation campaign.
“We raised over a million dollars last year,” Bukar said. “With your help, we’re going to do it once again.”
Ten cents from each “mental health” stamp sold in the city will be donated to the foundation, he said. The first set of mental health stamps was released in October 2008, after the foundation was formed in June.
Customers donated a total of $522,000, employees donated $163,000 which Canada Post matched, and sales of the stamp raised more than $340,000.
The B.C. Schizophrenia Society is one of 20 community organizations receiving grants from the 2008 fundraising campaign.
Schizophrenia Society regional manager Kim Dixon said the money will help spread a Prince George program to other parts of B.C.
“For the last 12 years I’ve been providing support and education to families of people with mental illness,” Dixon said. “For the last seven years I’ve been doing it by myself. What this will do is we’ll be bringing people from other parts of B.C. to train in Prince George.”
The program will be offered in four phases, starting in January, she said. The training will help support families dealing with a full spectrum of mental illness including thought disorders like schizophrenia, anxiety disorders like paranoia, and depression.
“Family organizations like BCSS, and the families they serve, are an essential part of the health care system because they provide leadership and resources to improve the quality of life for those affected by mental illness,” she said.