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One year later: how an Imperial-sponsored tool is helping youth affected by the wildfires to evaluate their stress and anxiety

Nearly one year ago, wildfires swept through the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. We remember the uncertainty and anxiety we felt and know it doesn’t compare to the stress felt by those who were directly impacted.

The effects of last year’s wildfires still linger, both in ways that are seen – such as homes which have yet to be rebuilt and ways that are unseen, like the mental health of those who were evacuated and lost their homes.

To help youth affected by the wildfires, Imperial has donated $30,000 to the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD), facilitated by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo, to fund Heart Math - a digital tool to evaluate stress and anxiety levels.

Hear more about the app from the students who are using it in the classroom.

"Resources for mental health will be critical to ongoing efforts to rebuild in Fort McMurray," said Shane Harris at the event. "Nowhere is this need felt more acutely than with our children and Imperial is committed to supporting the Fort McMurray School District and the Canadian Mental Health Association in this important work."

Emma Jones, Acting Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, said the "group is proud to partner with leaders such as Imperial and the Fort McMurray Public School District, who support mental health."

Shannon Noble, Associate Superintendent, Inclusive Education, FMPSD, noted, "part of our re-entry plan post-wildfire was to provide teachers with programs and strategies to understand anxiety. We chose the Heart Math program because it allows both students and staff recognize and reduce anxiety and in a post-evacuation environment this was invaluable to us."

"We can't thank Imperial and the CMHA enough for their support. The numerous benefits of this donation will definitely have far-reaching impact within our school communities," continued Noble.