Mental health needs are immense—and rising. A recent report by Canada’s Chief Medical Officer suggests that 9 million Canadians over the age of 15—one-third of Canadians—have experienced some form of domestic violence. Diagnoses of anxiety and depression in children and adults are burgeoning. The #Me Too movement is revealing the endemic levels of sexual harassment and assault in our society. There is an epidemic of suicides in various communities today. At the same time, grinding poverty and an inability to pay for needed services is becoming a grim fact of life for far too many people—and governments.
Our faith perspective at Shalem leads us to the conviction that these realities demand a response.
Shalem receives no annualized government funding. Yet many of the people we work with live in deep poverty and cannot afford to pay for service.
That’s why we need your partnership, and the partnership of communities we are working with. Shalem has wonderful committed donors and communities of support, without whom people in need could not get served. In 2016, for example, at a time of significant office space pressure, a faithful donor generously purchased a suitable office building on our behalf; Shalem has entered into a “lease to own” agreement with the donor. To meet some of our supporters, and hear a sample of why they donate to Shalem, please visit the Shalem Mental Health Foundation website.
Please consider donating — your support extends your hand directly to people who are hurting. Please also consider pre-authorized monthly donations, or the many options offered through the Foundation’s partnership with Christian Stewardship Services, such as the donation of securities. Both the Shalem Mental Health Network and the separately incorporated and governed Shalem Mental Health Foundation are registered charities. All donations receive a charitable tax receipt.
We would be happy to send you a prospectus and to visit with you to get to know you and describe our work in more detail and the benefits of giving. Please contact Gillian Doucet Campbell, Development Officer at the Shalem Mental Health Foundation, or Mark Vander Vennen, Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network.
New Mental Health Business Models
But there is more. As a partner in financial support, you are contributing not just to positive outcomes for people who struggle, but also to the development of a new business model in mental health, pioneered by Shalem.
Shalem’s niche is to equip communities to effectively take responsibility for the mental health needs that arise within them (learn about what makes Shalem unique). That generates not just positive mental health outcomes but also an innovative, sustainable business model in mental health. In fact, in our view, the two are inseparable.
What do we mean by that?
Current Business Models
There is no business model in mental health that suggests that adult, child and family mental health services can be delivered based solely on fees-for-service and donations. That’s because it simply cannot be done. Mental health service delivery requires some form of third-party annualized funding.
In Canada, that third party is the government, and the prevailing mental health business model in Canada relies to an extraordinary degree on its funding—often between 80% to 94% of total agency budgets. In an era of increasing demands on government budgets, necessary mental health services are highly vulnerable, due to their heavy dependence on government. Indeed, in relation to the rising needs, mental health funding in Canada today is at a point of crisis.
Shalem’s Business Model
Shalem offers adult, children and family mental health. Yet we receive no annualized government funding. How is that possible?
In our view, a sustainable business model is based on a mix of revenue from fees-for-services, donations, project grants, as well as third-party annualized revenue from some source—but in much different proportions than are currently at play in mental health today.
Shalem’s annual budget is approximately $1.25 million. Approximately 33% of our funding comes from a third party source.
Shalem is blessed with an extraordinary alternative to government funding. In the early 1970s a faithful donor willed property to Shalem. That property was sold in 2014. The resulting Endowment Fund is managed by the Shalem Mental Health Foundation and serves as the Network’s source of third-party funding. But why 33%, rather than a much higher percentage? That’s because communities are stepping up and assuming their rightful responsibilities in mental health—which includes financial responsibilities. The result is much healthier, diverse, more sustainable revenue streams in mental health.
The Shalem Foundation seeks to enhance its endowment fund significantly, in order to support more mental health ministry by the Shalem Network, especially with low-income people. 33% of the people who access Shalem for psychotherapy can only pay less than $50 per session because of their life circumstances. WrapAround and RE-create work with people who are often in extreme poverty and cannot pay for service. And the demand for those ministries keeps rising.
The values that guide our Network budget decision-making are:
- To serve people regardless of ability to pay—to the degree possible
- Care for staff
- Fiscal responsibility, reflected in the principle of a break-even budget, within Shalem’s resources.
Shalem’s practice, and the business model that supports it, is rooted in the notion that all of us, and all sectors of society, have a unique responsibility to look after mental health needs. This is Shalem’s expression of the Christian social vision of “differentiated responsibility” or “sphere sovereignty” that the founding constituency of Shalem brought with them from Europe in the 1950s.
Thank you for partnering with us in this much-needed witness!”