CMHA-Alberta Division has been informed by the CMHA-Alberta Southeast Region (CMHA-ASER) Board that they have made the difficult decision to cease operations effective immediately due to financial pressures.
UPDATE! The Sentinel spoke with Board Chair Carole Hillson to find out further details as to why the abrupt ceasing of CMHA-Alberta Southeast Region operations occurred.
As with many non-profit organizations in our community and elsewhere, the CMHA-ASER was faced with financial obligations that had unfortunately overwhelmed the organization. "There is always an ebb and flow to funding operations. Funds hit a low point and then a scheduled fundraiser brings it back up. Then some program is funded, (or not) and the bank account changes accordingly. Unfortunately CHMHA-ASER did not have enough funds for all expenses such as loan payments, staff salaries and general operations while still meeting the programming requirements agreed to with those funding our programming.", stated Hillson.
Hillson also stated it was unfortunate that The Post had to close its doors and knows how valuable it was to our community. "The Post actually contributed funds to CMHA-ASER operations", she stated.
Hillson commented that a number of financial decisions over the years by previous boards and management built up and made it difficult for the organization to keep its head above water. Reducing cash flows, debt obligations and a shrinking board created the perfect storm.
Hillson, like so many others in our community, was on the CMHA-ASER board as a volunteer to improve mental health services in our community. Over the last year, due to personal and professional reasons, many board members had resigned. This left the governance board in a position where there were 5 board members left at the time of the decision to cease operations.
Hillson continues to speak to the announcement with multiple members of the media and thanks all that have reached out with questions regarding the situation. There may be more to say at a future date.
Providing community mental health care programs and services, including suicide prevention support, in Medicine Hat and throughout Alberta is a priority to CMHA-Alberta Division. We are dedicated to ensuring the ongoing delivery of effective programming in Medicine Hat. CMHA-Alberta Division will be working with local partners and other CMHA regions as part of this process to determine the best path forward. All questions specifically related to the current CMHA-ASER operations should be directed to CMHA-ASER Board Chair Carole Hillson, firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding programming can be directed to CMHA-AB Division CEO (interim) Mara Grunau, email@example.com.