Knowledge Collaborative expands learning and connections in communities
Rose Walls, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator and Dr. Sarah Newcomb-Anjo, Registered Psychologist and Advanced Practice Lead have been busy connecting and meeting with non-profit community–based service providers across the province under Nova Scotia Health’s new Knowledge Collaborative.
The Knowledge Collaborative is one of the new initiatives under the provincial government’s Universal Mental Health and Addictions Care initiative.
The goals of the Knowledge Collaborative are twofold. First, to build on service providers’ knowledge and skills by providing free education and learning opportunities on frontline mental health support topics.
Second, the Knowledge Collaborative aims to connect service providers who support adults with mental health and addiction concerns by helping to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices.
Walls is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating the Knowledge Collaborative. Her background in research and evaluation and health promotion has proven to be valuable, as her role includes facilitating coordination, managing logistics, and cultivating relationships for the Collaborative and mental health literacy initiatives in which she is involved.
“The dynamic nature of my job is something I find particularly gratifying, as each day presents unique challenges and opportunities,” Walls shares. “Typically, a significant portion of my time is dedicated to engaging with our valued community partners, gaining insight into their services, and discovering ways my co-lead, Sarah, and I can support them.”
Additionally, Walls is responsible for the strategic planning and evaluation of the Collaborative, including synthesizing information and data from members to support her co-leader, Sarah, as she tailors the Collaborative’s offerings to members’ specific needs. Collaborating with the community partners involved in the inception of the Knowledge Collaborative has significantly contributed to its rapid growth. The Collaborative has welcomed over 100 members and 30 organizations across the province within its inaugural year.
Various approaches have been adopted in the engagement process and in identifying potential members for the Knowledge Collaborative. These include leveraging established relationships with existing community partners, receiving recommendations for organizations that could gain value from the Knowledge Collaborative, and utilizing cold outreach strategies to identify mental health service providers across Nova Scotia.
“The engagement, support, and input from the community-based organizations are invaluable as we shape the future of the Collaborative together with community partners.” says Walls.
As the dynamic duo looks towards the future, they (and we) celebrate the incredible work the Collaborative members are already doing in offering essential mental health support to Nova Scotians. "Success for the Collaborative goes beyond mere numbers; it's about our positive impact on individuals' lives." Walls shares.
The Knowledge Collaborative is dedicated to facilitating interactive evidence-based learning sessions, fostering skill development, sharing resources, and creating an environment where members can showcase the wonderful work, they are already doing to help one another. "Success for us means building on this foundation and empowering our members to feel supported and connected in the work that they are doing to enhance the well-being of those they serve in Nova Scotia," said Walls.
While thinking of the year ahead, Walls reflects, "As I enter my second year in this role, envisioning the future of the Collaborative fills me with excitement and hope. I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate daily with our wonderful community partners. Our shared commitment to enhancing the mental health and well-being of Nova Scotians fuels my passion for doing this work and fostering a supportive and empowering Knowledge Collaborative." Sarah adds, "We are so grateful to our Collaborative members for welcoming us into their workplaces and being open to what we offer. Their contributions shape this whole initiative and, ultimately, the mental health landscape of the province."
If you are part of a non-profit community organization interested in learning more and joining the Collaborative, connect with Rose Walls by e-mailing Rose.Walls@nshealth.ca.
Photo of Dr. Sarah Newcomb-Anjo, Registered Psychologist and Advanced Practice Lead (L) and Rose Walls, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator (R).