Seed World

Fundraiser on Nov. 2 will Help Improve Pediatric Mental Health Services in Southern Alberta

An initiative to help improve access to mental health services for children in southern Alberta is getting a boost through an upcoming fundraiser spearheaded by the seed community.

The fifth Harvest Howler event — a fundraiser in support of community mental health initiatives — will take place Nov. 2 at the Lethbridge Italian Club.

This year, Harvest Howler proceeds will go to support quality improvement initiatives in pediatric mental health services. After struggling to coordinate mental health services for their child, Nicoelle Wanner and her husband Tyler Wiens were made keenly aware that the current system in Alberta is neither easily navigated nor accessible.

As a result, Wanner — a family doctor in Medicine Hat — in partnership with Southeast Regional Collaborative Service Delivery, the Medicine Hat College, Alberta Health Services and area school divisions, has developed a project to bring frontline health care and education staff together with families of children in grades 4-9 with both current and past exposure to mental health services to more clearly define gaps and create novel, patient-centred solutions. Harvest Howler proceeds will go directly to support Wanner’s initiative and its delivery.

“There’s a great need for mental health literacy, that is, making sure we’re all talking the same language — doctors, counsellors, teachers and families,” Wanner says. “Depression is not the same as being sad, an anxiety disorder is not the same as being worried about something.”

Wanner’s project, which will take the form of two upcoming community workshops, will bring multiple stakeholders to the table to find out what their experience has been with pediatric mental health services and how the system can be made more user-friendly.

Nicoelle Wanner and Tyler Wiens.

“More people than ever are seeking help for mental health conditions, which is a great thing, but we need to make sure that when they do, the system that’s in place is functional and gives them the resources they need,” Wanner says.

Harvest Howler organizer Scott Horner, general manager at southern Alberta’s HyTech Production, said with mental health being an ever-more important topic in the agriculture community, organizers are happy to help in improving access to mental health resources.

“Mental health affects everyone, and we invite everyone to come out on Nov. 2 and enjoy the evening,” Horner says. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the band begins playing an hour later.

You are invited to help make this year’s Harvest Howler a success by becoming a key sponsor. Information is available and payments can be made at

Tickets can be picked up and payment dropped off at the Pioneer Hi-Bred office, 3.5 km east of Lethbridge on Hwy. 3.

For more info contact Scott Horner at 403-308-8152 or Rick Kawa at 403-331-3818.