West Fraser and Mental Health America partner to support rural mental health

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Staff Reports

Today, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (West Fraser) and Mental Health America (MHA) are pleased to announce that West Fraser has contributed $450,000 to support rural
mental health, including helping fund the recently developed online Rural Mental Health Hub, which provides a comprehensive range of screening tools and resources in one centralized place, aimed at those living in more remote communities.

The release of the Rural Mental Health Hub is in conjunction with May as Mental Health Month, established by MHA 75 years ago to promote mental health and well-being through awareness and
education. According to MHA, half of Americans will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and one in five will experience a mental health condition in a given year.

Mental Health America will also use the West Fraser contribution to focus on improving mental health awareness in rural areas; enhance awareness of the mental health needs of these populations; and provide additional program funding.

“Dealing with mental health concerns can be especially difficult for those living in rural communities, where access to care and stigma are persistent challenges,” said Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO, Mental Health America. “We hope the resources contained in this hub will help support rural residents on their mental health journeys.”

The majority of West Fraser’s renewable, wood building products manufacturing facilities are located in rural communities which can provide community and tranquility, while at the same time be isolating with potentially limited available mental health resources.

Throughout Mental Health Month, employees across West Fraser’s global operations are participating in “Go Green Day” where team members wear green—the international colour for mental health awareness—to destigmatize and normalize conversations about mental health and encourage people to take care of their well-being.

“At West Fraser, we believe in the importance of mental health,” said Sean McLaren, President and CEO, West Fraser. “It’s a message we are committed to amplifying within our team and throughout the wider community.”

“Each West Fraser employee has access to mental health supports and resources. Now by partnering with Mental Health America, we are really pleased to see the development of the hub designed to help support the needs of Americans living in rural communities, including in the 28 U.S. communities where we currently operate,” said McLaren.

Mental Health America offers free, anonymous, clinically validated mental health screening tools to help people take inventory of their well-being and connect with resources if needed. In addition to
information on mental health screenings, conditions, resources and how to access care, the hub offers tips and actionable insights on navigating stigma and other barriers to treatment that can be common in more remote areas.