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SurreyCares grants $13,380 to Semiahmoo House Society to Provide Mental Health Support During COVID.

We have provided a $13,380 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to UNITI Partner- Semiahmoo House Society (SHS) to assist their Mental Health and Wellness Services. These services include providing immediate crisis response and coping strategies for people with disabilities, caregivers, and essential workers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Left to Right) Linda Annis, Jillian Glennie, Elizabeth Deschenes

“Our Mental Health and Wellness Services initiative aims to directly address the harmful mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disabilities, caregivers, and essential workers. This includes helping people cope with feelings of stress, inability to cope, fear, worry, and social isolation,” explained Elizabeth Deschenes, the Director of Community Services, Semiahmoo House Society. “By providing crisis management and coping strategies for the mental health of PWD, their caregivers, and essential workers, we are also supporting our community.”

Due to COVID, the delivery of SHS services have diversified immensely. As modifications were made to practice social distancing, the organization has created small pods of participants for less contact and an online campus which is a virtual platform for group gatherings and classes. These new ways of service delivery have been able to keep people connected.

Semiahmoo House Society Mental Health & Wellness Services are not government funded and there is a waitlist for both counselling and life coach services. With the aid of the Emergency Community Support Fund grant, Semiahmoo House Society can provide more access to these services. Along with free counselling sessions, the project will provide free coping strategies workshops.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) conducted a national survey where 3,000 people responded from May 14 – 29th, 2020 on how they are feeling the effects of Covid-19. The report for this survey stated people with disabilities are more likely to report: worse mental health [over the general population] (47% vs 37%); experience stress (47% vs 36%); feel depressed (36% vs 22%); and are 2x more likely to be having trouble coping (24% vs 13%).

This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now, over $575,000 in the second round.

Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation, explained, "the COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for mental health support for people with disabilities, caregivers, and essential workers. SHS’s initiative provides much-needed counselling and workshops to manage the negative emotions stemming from the crisis. We are grateful to be able to support such an outstanding initiative that will make a big impact in our community.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.

About Semiahmoo House Society

UNITI partner- Semiahmoo House Society is a COA accredited, not-for-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, existing to provide quality services and support to people with disabilities and their families in the community. Semiahmoo House Society believes that people who have disabilities should be valued and included fully in their communities, and be given the same rights and responsibilities as all people living in Canada.

To learn more about Semiahmoo House Society and its services, click here:



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