Why the Journey Map?

We created a Journey Map with MAPS Alberta Capital Region. We used this creative method to capture the progress and challenges of the implementation of the Action Plan. There are many details to explore on the map.

We invite you to download the full version of the Journey Map and to read the symbology of the map.

Journey Map Symbology

This story is about how over 500 people developed and implemented the Community Mental Health Action Plan. As you can see by looking at our journey map we used a garden metaphor to document our process and our progress. We started by recognizing that our mental health system was in a bad shape as represented by the dead tree in the foreground. We then created a plan, planted some new seeds and nurtured those seeds and ideas until we achieved integrated blooming flower gardens. These integrating blooming flower gardens represent the positive changes to the mental health system.

The setting for this work started with the City of Edmonton as you can see from the skyline, we soon partnered with the City of Calgary and then became a provincial initiative as is shown through the province of Alberta symbolism; the oil rigs, the mountains, the windmills and the farms.

The timeline is shown in the roots of the trees. This story spans the timeframe of 2013 to 2019 in this ongoing journey.

At the beginning of our journey map you can see people wandering, looking for help, asking questions. You will see silhouettes representing individuals who are faceless and unknown to us. They are part of the 60% of us who are not comfortable coming forward to discuss our mental health or addictions issues.

During this first phase of our story which occurs between 2013 and 2015 we also see many signposts of documents representing the consultations, conversations and good work undertaken by many colleagues and community members in identifying strategies for improving our mental health system of services and supports.

By 2016 funding had been provided by Alberta Health for the development of a Community Mental Health Action Plan. Sitting at the picnic table is the Leadership Team that made this happen. The United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and City of Edmonton Colleagues, Jean and Dean who cochaired this process, our project Lead David, our Project Manager Kahn and Tammy, our Evaluation and Research Consultant. This Steering Committee brought together all the former recommendations and drafted the Community Mental Health Action Plan. They identified cochairs for three additional Leadership Teams and later that year launch the Community Mental Health Action Plan. The new tree being planted symbolizes the birth of a new mental health system of supports and services.

Nurturing and developing the recommendations that came forward took a lot of energy, development and care as evidenced by the gardeners in the next phase of this journey. The signposts indicate the fact that the Steering Committee, Evidence Foundation Leadership Team, Service Delivery Leadership Team and the System Integration Leadership Team all took responsibility for goals and objectives outlined in the Community Mental Health Action Plan.

As you move through the other two garden phases of the story you can see beautiful flowers emerging and beginning to integrate as we noticed our work merging.

The Community Mental Health Action Plan contained a bold vision which is seen in an image in the sky and refers to a better coordinated mental health system that serves the needs of all, across the mental health continuum.

The sun on the right side of the journey map with its rays affecting the entire journey symbolizes the heart based creative approach that we used within the development and the implementation of the Community Mental Health Action Plan. In trying to create a new approach to collaborative work we wanted to ensure that we remained accountable to these values.

The soil within the journey map starts out cracked and dry but through the gardening process, the fertilizing, nurturing, weeding and pruning, the soil becomes richer and is able to sustain the growth of the new ideas, practices and policies emerging. The guiding principles which were identified prior to the start of the Community Mental Health Action Plan implementation are embedded in the soil and provide a strong foundation for the work.

The river running through the journey map represents the natural energy and community support which nurtured the process over the entire period of development and will continue to nurture the plan into the future.

In 2017 a path emerges and is cultivated as we become clear about our priorities. Contained in the path are the lessons learned along the way during this process.

The lighthouses and park scenes in front of them represent our successes. The lighthouse rays contain outcomes achieved and the signposts, the products we have created and integrated into the mental health system.

The white clouds in the sky represent to the theories that underlie our work. We consider these theories to be essential and therefore formed some of the non-negotiable levels of knowledge required to work on the development and implementation of the Community Mental Health Action Plan.

The dark and gray clouds represent some of the challenges we had along the way. As with all collaborative processes we faced challenges which needed to be addressed.

In the final scene of this journey map we see people gathered to celebrate, including elected officials, Leadership Team members, residents, and people with lived experience. All voices are valued. You will notice some of the characters from the first scene of the map now more engaged, involved and participating in healthy ways in community.

Learn more about Journey Maps and Community Mapping