Kindred is an organization whose purpose is to foster human connection and to provide access to high quality, affordable counselling. Through a variety of different services such as family therapy, goal building and immigrant counselling, Kindred acts as a bridge to support the mental health of Calgarians. Melanie Grylls, Chief Program Officer, describes how her organization helps to improve mental health in the city. 


What do you feel are the types of things your organization is doing that are the most innovative in creating equitable communities?

I’ll give you an example of our Community Connect YYC program that Kindred leads. It is 12 plus organizations across Calgary that have come together to be able to provide quick affordable, low cost or no cost access to mental health services. The goal is that people can book 24/7, so it’s all online and people can book at any time. And the goal is that they see somebody within three days and that can be in person or that service can be offered virtually.

Melanie Grylls, Chief Program Officer at Kindred

Who or what do you feel hinders the progress towards achieving equitable communities? 

I’ll go back to Community Connect YYC where people, organizations chose to drop the silos that organizations sometimes have in providing access to service. They chose to step in together to be able to reduce the barriers and increase the equity in how people can access services. I think what can hinder that is not having that collaboration. We really need to focus on what we can do to get to equity, as opposed to what others aren’t doing or what others are doing to hinder it.

What parts of the city do you see as being the most vulnerable?

I don’t think there is one part of the city that is more or less vulnerable. We’re seeing people accessing our services from across Calgary, so the need is everywhere.

Who else do you feel is doing innovative work improving the well-being of communities? 

One organization that you might have already talked to already, but that we partner with quite a bit is CUPS. They’re just right down the street from us and they’re always looking for ways that we can partner and share different resources so that we can find ways to multiply our effects by working together.

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