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Closing the Gap: Supporting Women's Mental Health This Black Friday

Last month, Unbelts met with the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation (AWHF) to chat about how we might work together to support women’s health initiatives during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (and if you’re curious about why we aren’t doing deep discounting Black Friday - you can check out our “Why not Black Friday?” post).

A quick, but important note before we dive in - both Unbelts and the AWHF recognize that sex and gender are not synonyms and use the term "women" to refer to anyone who identifies as a woman.

When they mentioned mental health as an area of focus, we were quick to resonate with their research team’s findings.

Increased levels of stress compared to pre-pandemic? Check. 

Stress harming our mental and physical health? Check. 

A lack of affordable mental health care, lack of available practitioners, difficulty finding childcare, and increased caregiving responsibilities? Check, check, check, and check. 

In May 2021, AWHF began an online survey to better understand COVID-19 has impacted Albertans' mental health. You can read the full report of their findings here, but one of the statistics that stood out to our team was that four out of five women report feeling more stressed during, or as a result of, the pandemic.

This number is alarming, but as a team of seven women - we can’t say that it’s all that surprising. The past year and a half has been anything but normal, and there have been times where it seemed like everything and everyone around us was pretty far from okay. 

For every belt you purchase between November 26 and 30th, Unbelts will donate $5 to support the AWHF's funding of the HOPE Platform which will expand the tool's reach stages of life in Canada.

The HOPE Platform is a comprehensive and evidence-based digital mental health tool that offers ongoing mental healthcare. 

The team at AWHF has been telling us about the HOPE app, and it sounds truly awesome. It’s not limited to online therapy - the app provides easy access to mental health screening, e-referrals to community-based resources, and e-therapy for pregnant and postpartum people across Alberta. Since its launch in 2014, the app has helped over 4,000 people identify symptoms, learn tools to self-manage care, and connect with mental health professionals. 

It's something we wish we had had access to during the hard-as-heck year that was 2020, and we’re so excited that Dr. Dawn Kingston, creator of the HOPE app, Cross-Provincial Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research, and AWHF-funded researcher at the University of Calgary is working on expanding the platform to women across Canada through all stages of life - not just through pregnancy and postpartum. 

We had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Kingston about the app and about some of her team’s research and findings - and we’re looking forward to sharing that conversation with you very soon. 

In the meantime, we're leaving the big markdowns this weekend to the bigger businesses. We hope that if you’ve had your eye on a belt, you’ll make a purchase this weekend and support Unbelts and AWHF at the same time. And if you’ve already completed your holiday shopping, we hope that you’ll take a look at the report AWHF has shared. And maybe check in with a friend to see how they’re doing - because we could all use a little more of that in our lives.