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MCA to host Community Awareness for Mental Health Virtual Event

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It is no secret that increased mental health issues have been plaguing our community since the 2016 wildfires. Add to the mix, economic issues, a pandemic, a 100-year flood, and you get the picture. To lend a helping hand with alleviating this ongoing challenge, The Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) is hosting a virtual Community Awareness for Mental Health event on November 27, 2021 from 1 to 5 p.m., featuring local services and supports.

Livestreamed from Markaz ul Islam, the Islamic Centre of Fort McMurray, one of the event partners, it is organized by members of the Red Cross Mental Health Collaborative Network, which is made up of the Red Cross, the MCA The Centre of Hope, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD), Fort McMurray Catholic Schools, Keyano College, Some Other Solutions, St. Aidan’s, Waypoints and the YMCA. Participating in the livestream will be: the RCMP, CMHA, Waypoints, FMPSD, and a psychiatrist.

Rima Kadri is helping lead the initiative. She is MCA’s Project Coordinator for the Red Cross Mental Health Collaborative Network project.

“Our goals for this Saturday’s program are to highlight local agency supports, and facilitate a collaboration between other agencies and the community. We want to reduce language and cultural barriers to access mental health services, and to be a learning platform for potential future events.”

“It is an honour to help with such a meaningful project for the community. My dreams and hopes are that this is a starting point for many to take the lead and do more for the community that has been my home for over 13 years now, one that I have grown to admire and love and where I want the best for everyone,” Kadri continues.

Guy Choquet, Director Operations, Alberta Fire Recovery, Canadian Red Cross notes, “one challenge in accessing better mental health supports is to know what resources are available in the community. The Community Awareness on Mental Health event will provide a holistic approach for Wood Buffalo mental wellness agencies and their partners to share information about services and supports available. Accessing mental health supports can be new for many.  Hosting this event at the Islamic Centre of Fort McMurray will provide a forum to make the information more accessible in a comfortable and known setting.”

Kadri agrees. “Markaz ul Islam stepped forward to provide space for the event as the Islamic Centre has one of the largest meeting spaces in Fort McMurray. Our original plan for a live event changed in accordance with pandemic requirements. As one of the most diverse cultural groups in Fort McMurray, Markaz is a great partner for reaching community members who may have need of this important information.”

The event, she adds, is a “great example of multicultural teamwork at its best, not to mention at such trying times and overcoming obstacles along the way. The MCA, like the world, was impacted by COVID and our office was closed by the flood. All I can say is that this is resilience at its best. Whether they are newcomers, or long-term residents, people should tune in to find out more about what each of these local agencies does in terms of mental health for our region and have a chance to ask questions directly from the right sources.”

The MCA is encouraging everyone to register through a QR code on the attached poster, those unfamiliar with QR codes, or who need assistance to login should call 587-723-1522.


Event poster in multiple languages can be accessed here. A French translator will also be at the premises.


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.