Shared Wisdom for Supporting Mental Health in the Community

Stories from Shared Wisdom

The outside of City Centre Mall in downtown showing the glass pedway and looking up at other glass buildings.

How a downtown mall in Edmonton uses trauma informed care as an approach to security and creates a supportive environment for all downtown communtiy members, including people experiencing serious mental illness and/or addiction, homelessness, and poverty.

Read this story if you want to know about extending mental health and addictions supports in non-traditional settings.

City Centre Mall Website

An outreach school in Ponoka puts relationships before course content and grows a sense of family and belonging for staff and students. Although the students are currently or have experienced trauma outside of school, relationships help mitigate trauma and help the students flourish.

Read this story if you want to learn about the power of connection and caring relationships for children and youth.

The BRICK Learning Centre Website

Two staff from Aventa Centre outside of the building with a banner that highlights the organization's vision, mission, and values.

A non-profit organization in Calgary has fostered and sustained a culture devoted to ongoing learning and quality improvement. This culture is sustained in the best interest of improving the care and services provided to women living with trauma and addiction.

Read this story to find out the key ingredients that are the foundation of continuous learning and what a continuous learning process looks like.

Aventa Centre Website

Three workbooks. The workbook in the middle is called "A Woman's Journal: Helping Women Recover, A Program for Treating Addictions."

What does gender-responsive trauma-informed care look like in a residential treatment centre for women with addictions? In this story, we describe how trauma-informed care has become embedded into the very fibre for the organization. 

Read this story if you want to be inspired to do the same. 

“Inside each of us, and among all of us, are the necessary elements to make our systems better.”

Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Two people are embraced in a hug celebrating the work and stories shared about BRICK Learning Centre. Two people are standing nearby and smiling and applauding.

What is Shared Wisdom for?

  • Share what’s working on the ground. That is, to share locally developed innovations and evidence-informed practices that can result in better mental health outcomes.
  • Acknowledge, support, and celebrate what people are doing in Alberta to improve community-based mental health and addiction services and supports.
  • Inspire and support implementation of innovations and evidence-informed practices.
  • Build a learning community around the sharing of wisdom and experience to better support mental health in the community.


Who can use Shared Wisdom?

Shared Wisdom is intended for people and organizations with a spirit of inquiry and a commitment to serving others with excellence – people who strive every day to better support people, families and communities in their journey to mental wellbeing, resilience and recovery. This includes government and non-government organizations, whether large or small in size and in urban, rural and remote settings. It also includes any other individuals, groups or organizations in a position to support mental health in the community.

The major focus is on evidence-informed practices and innovations in organizations. Some information will be particularly relevant to managers charged with overseeing these activities; other information will be relevant to individual practitioners doing the work “on the ground”. In essence, there is something for anyone who is interested in optimizing supports for mental wellbeing in the community.

Ideas for Using Shared Wisdom

Use it for navigation support to learn about other service providers. 

Gain ideas for training, program development / planning, evaluation, and new resources

Share with organizations, in a course, or in meetings and presentations

  • Have you ever struggled when working with a client or program to achieve the outcomes you’re hoping for?
  • Have you tried to find new ways to solve problems in your practice or in your agency?
  • Do you wonder how other practitioners or agencies have solved a problem that’s frustrating you?
  • Have you ever wondered how you could take an approach another agency is using and apply it in your agency?
  • Do you have an idea for a new practice or approach and want to see if it works?
  • Do you have an opportunity to try something new but wonder how to proceed?
  • Do you ever wonder how effective your efforts really are?
  • Is your funder requiring you to use “evidence-informed practices” but you’re not sure where to start?

Shared Wisdom Guide

Shared Wisdom has two complementary components (stories and resources), each designed to inspire and inform efforts to improve practice based on evidence. Download the full guide or continue reading for an overview of these two sections.

Download the Shared Wisdom Guide

Stories about the experiences of people and organizations

The stories capture the experiences of people and organizations who are travelling the path of improving supports for mental health and addictions in the community. If like many people, you learn best from stories, these are for you!

Resources for implementing evidence-informed practices and innovations “on the ground”

This is not a prescriptive “how-to” manual or guide; but rather, a smorgasboard of ideas and resources that others have found to be helpful. Our hope is that you might also find these to be valuable in your own practice and/or organization. 

By sharing these stories and resources, we hope people will see that change can indeed happen and make a difference! 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Shared Wisdom is for you!