The Calgary Overcoming Obstacles Handbook

Local resources. Inspiring stories. Practical advice.

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You Need Courage to Overcome Obstacles!

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We all face times that require extra support. Kate is a psychologist who provides a holistic counselling approach to clients to produce meaningful and lasting change. Kate works with a range of concerns such as burnout, trauma, anxiety, and grief and loss issues that come with life transitions.

Whether it’s physical, financial, professional or psychological, everybody goes through tough times in their lives. Josh Martin was 28 years old when he experienced his biggest challenge yet: an aggressive form of leukemia. Inspired by his journey, the Overcoming Obstacles Handbook is a free collection of real-life stories, practical advice and local resources in Calgary, Alberta geared at helping people who are facing adversity.

Get your copy of the handbook

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Video features

Blood donors: helping others

Ten years ago, cancer almost killed me. Blood donors saved my life. And for that, I just wanted to say thanks.

Practicing gratitude

Gratitude. What’s so special about it, and how can we cultivate more of it in our lives to help us through tough times?

Life is awesome. Life is awful.

Sometimes life is an ice cream sundae smothered in chocolate. Other times it’s a flurry of kung-fu kicks to the gut.

Letting go

When my sister Meghan got stuck in the mud, she learned a valuable lesson about the importance of letting go.

Community resources in Calgary, Alberta

One of the most important lessons Josh learned from his health crisis was the importance of community. Whether it was accessing peer support programs, using the Cancer Society’s shuttle service to get to appointments or tapping into educational materials from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, community resources played a big role in his success.

Whatever obstacle you face in life — personally, professionally or otherwise — be sure to consider the resources available in your community. Fortunately, Calgary boasts all kinds of organizations and programs focused on helping folks overcome a variety of obstacles.

Below, you’ll find information about some of them. This listing is by no means exhaustive, but it will hopefully give you a flavour of the kinds of resources available in your own backyard.

Mental health


Distress Centre Calgary
(24-hour crisis line)
403-266-HELP (4357)
http://www.distresscentre.com/

Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary
http://cmha.calgary.ab.ca/

Youth Addiction and Mental Health – Help4Me
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/HealthTopics/youth-addiction-mental-health

Alberta Health Services – Addiction & Mental Health
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/amh.aspx
Addiction helpline: 1-866-332-2322 (24/7)
Mental health helpline: 1-877-303-2642 (24/7)

Local therapists
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/ab/calgary

Anxiety counsellors
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/anxiety/ab/calgary

Depression counsellors
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/depression/ab/calgary

Grief counsellors
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/grief/ab/calgary

Victim resources – death and bereavement
(City of Calgary)
http://www.calgary.ca/cps/Pages/Community-programs-and-resources/Victims-of-crime/Victim-resources-Death-and-bereavement.aspx

Grief Support Program – Calgary Zone
(Alberta Health Services)
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page13161.aspx

Physical health

Find a local physiotherapist
https://opa.on.ca/physiotherapists/

Alzheimer’s Society of Canada – Alberta
https://alzheimer.ca/en/ab

Canadian Cancer Society – Alberta
http://www.cancer.ca/en/?region=ab

Heart & Stroke Foundation
(Calgary office)
119 14 St NW #200, Calgary
https://www.heartandstroke.ca/

Seniors programs and services
(City of Calgary)
http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/CNS/Pages/Seniors/Seniors-Programs-Services.aspx

Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society
https://www.calgaryseniors.org/

Kerby Centre for the 55-plus
https://www.kerbycentre.com/

Families and individuals

Calgary Region Child & Family Services
http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/services-near-you/calgary-and-area-child-and-family-services.html

Ministry of Children’s Services
https://www.alberta.ca/ministry-childrens-services.aspx

The Carya Society of Calgary
(counselling and development services for families and individuals)
https://caryacalgary.ca

Divorce therapists in Calgary
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/divorce/ab/calgary

Family conflict therapists in Calgary
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/family-conflict/ab/calgary

Women’s Centre of Calgary
https://www.womenscentrecalgary.org/

Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network
http://www.connectnetwork.ca/
Sexual abuse/assault assistance: (403) 237-5888 or 1-877-237-5888 (toll-free in Alberta)
Domestic/relationship abuse assistance: (403) 234-7233 (SAFE) or 1-866-606-7233 (toll-free in Alberta)

Victim resources – Sexual assault and violence
(City of Calgary)
http://www.calgary.ca/cps/Pages/Community-programs-and-resources/Victims-of-crime/Victim-resources-Sexual-assault-and-violence.aspx

Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse (CCSA)
http://www.calgarycasa.com/
Support & information line: 1-877-237-5888

Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter
https://www.calgarywomensshelter.com/

The Mustard Seed Shelter
https://theseed.ca/

Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre
https://www.calgarydropin.ca/

The Calgary Food Bank
https://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/

YWCA Calgary
https://www.ywcalgary.ca/

YMCA Calgary
https://www.ymcacalgary.org/

Community centres
https://maps.calgary.ca/CommunityCentres/

Employment and financial

Calgary Career Counselling
http://www.calgarycareercounselling.com/

Calgary employment services
(Government of Alberta)
https://www.alberta.ca/calgary-employment-services.aspx

City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre
http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/CNS/Pages/Children-and-youth/Youth-employment-centre/Home.aspx

Career guidance counsellors in Calgary
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/career-guidance/ab/calgary

The Credit Counselling Society
https://www.nomoredebts.org/canada/alberta/calgary/credit-counselling.html

Newcomers

Immigrant Services Calgary
https://immigrantservicescalgary.ca/

Centre for Newcomers
http://centrefornewcomers.ca/

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
https://www.ccisab.ca/

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
https://www.ciwa-online.com/

The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth
http://www.cbfy.ca/

Want to help others in your community overcome obstacles? Here are few local opportunities to consider:

Propellus – The Volunteer Centre of Calgary
https://www.propellus.org/

Volunteer opportunities with the City of Calgary
http://www.calgary.ca/General/Pages/volunteer.aspx

Volunteer Connector
https://www.volunteerconnector.org/volunteer/browse/page-1/

Blood donor clinics
(search “Calgary” for nearby clinics)
https://blood.ca

Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta
https://www.habitatsouthernab.ca/

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area
http://bbbscalgary.ca/