Societal issues explored by United Way program

Social Impact Lab looks at youth mental health

An estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness, yet less than 20 per cent receive appropriate treatment. Left untreated, these issues could persist into adulthood.  

Child youth and mental health is an issue being investigated by The Social Impact Lab, a physical and digital space where United Way agency partners, government, donors, businesses, community members, and corporate volunteers can come together to solve — rather than serve — complex social issues in new and innovative ways. A number of researchers from the University of Calgary are involved with this initiative working to solve the complex social issue.

“The Social Impact Lab is intended to create new ventures that move the social sector from serving to solving urgent social issues,” says Beth Gignac, vice-president and chief operating officer of United Way of Calgary and Area. “There is no other place in Calgary to do this kind of work, work that needs to happen to ensure our community is vital, healthy and a place we all want to do business in and bring up our families.”

In the fall of 2018, The Social Impact Lab team began deep listening and learning activities to understand opportunities to improve child and youth mental health in Calgary. The team explored and identified opportunities to improve awareness and access to mental health services, system navigation, and systems co-ordination.

When you support United Way, you help support important projects like the Social Impact Lab. United Way focuses on creating positive change in the areas of poverty, kids and strong communities by investing in social programs and special initiatives.

Learn more about UCalgary’s United Way campaign and check out the full list of engaging activities running until Dec. 13. Give online, download a paper pledge form or find information on tax receipts related to your United Way investment. Or, your donation can easily be made through payroll deductions.