Sunday, May 19, 2024
May 19, 2024

Foundation’s mental health fund capacity expanded

By SSI FOUNDATION

Organizations working to improve mental health on Salt Spring Island can now benefit from an expanded fund designated for that purpose. 

The Salt Spring Island Foundation (SSIF) recently announced that it has designated $13,255 of foundation funding to the Devon James Bolton Mental Health Fund. The endowed fund is now at $35,000, in memory of the fund’s founder, Terry Bolton, who passed away in November 2022. 

Terry Bolton was a long-serving member of the SSIF board from 2007 to 2018, first as treasurer and then as chair of the foundation’s investment committee. 

Terry and Bev Bolton first established the Devon James Bolton Mental Health Fund after the tragic death of their only son in 2019. The Boltons and the foundation were keen to create a long-term, continued response to supporting mental health needs on Salt Spring. 

Statistics Canada reports that over the last three years, mental health issues in general are on the rise. Mental illness and disorders are statistically higher on Salt Spring than across the rest of British Columbia. Salt Spring’s 2022 Vital Signs Report highlights the multifaceted and tenacious challenges we face on our island. Although Island Health, Community Services and other organizations work to respond to these challenges, there is undeniably much more that can be done. 

In 2022, the Devon James Bolton Mental Health Fund contributed to the Salt Spring Community Health Society, partnering with the Salt Spring Health Advancement Network to continue work on the Mental Wellness Initiative project. Now in its third year, the funding focuses on expanding peer and volunteer counselling development. 

The foundation asks people to consider a contribution to mental wellness by donating to one of two endowed mental health funds held by SSIF. The other is the Brian Bleskie Memorial Fund for Mental Wellness. 

People can visit www.ssifoundation.ca, email operations director Shannon Cowan (shannon@ssifoundation.ca), or call the SSIF office for more information: 250-537-8305. 

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