Please note: agenda is subject to change without notice
All times are listed in Eastern Time (EDT).

Keynote: Redefining Resilience

Resilience is a powerful skill and capability that can be developed. It is the ability to bounce back from the obstacles and setbacks that we face. It requires developing positive adaptation processes and finding meaning and value in our experiences. It promotes self-efficacy, confidence, and possibility thinking. This keynote focuses on how we can develop strategies to build our psychological capital and resilience in an age of uncertainty. When redefining resilience, we not only bounce back, but learn and grow from the challenges we encounter in order to achieve higher levels of performance.

Rumeet Billan, PhD

President and CEO Viewpoint Leadership

Rumeet Billan, PhD, is an award-winning, internationally recognized entrepreneur, learning architect, speaker, author and humanitarian. Her mission is to raise potential by designing experiences that build resilience.

She  is the President and CEO of Viewpoint Leadership and an expert on Psychological Capital. She completed her PhD at OISE, University of Toronto and has designed and facilitated programs, courses, and training sessions across industries and sectors.

She led the groundbreaking national research study on Tall Poppy Syndrome which reveals the impact of the silent systemic syndrome on women in the workplace. In 2020, she co-led the Canadian Happiness at Work study, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and was the inaugural National Ambassador for the Not Myself Today® program. She was named Canada’s Top 10 Power Women in 2020, and has been twice named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Recently, she released her first award-winning and bestselling book,

Who Do I Want To Become?, designed for children and adults who are struggling with the question of what they want to be when they grow up. She serves on the Board of Directors of CODE and for G(irls)20.

A1: Mental Health Needs Of Justice-Involved People: Scoping Project Results

Mental illnesses are substantially more prevalent among persons involved with the criminal justice system than in the general population. Without adequate supports and services in the community, many continue to cycle through prisons, hospitals, and shelters.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) undertook a scoping project (2019-2021) to identify major challenges and opportunities to improve the mental health of persons involved with the criminal justice system. Three sources of evidence were used including a rapid scoping review (completed in collaboration with CMHA), key informant interviews, and a national survey.

Emerging patterns were consolidated into key themes that were validated at a national forum of stakeholders from across various disciplines. Among the forum’s central objectives was to identify actions that would reduce inequities and health disparities of justice-involved persons.

This presentation will highlight findings that emerged from the evidence, reflections from the national forum and discuss areas of opportunity for action from a national perspective.

Ed Mantler, RPN, MSA, CHE

Vice President, Programs and Priorities Mental Health Commission of Canada

A highly motivated visionary and an expert at building partnerships, fostering stakeholder engagement and aligning strategic objectives, Ed Mantler has led innovation and improvement in health care for over two decades.

As Vice President of Programs and Priorities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Ed is dedicated to promoting mental health in Canada and changing the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and illnesses. By collaborating with stakeholders to improve mental health services and supports, he leads the way to change. Ed pays particular attention to reducing stigmas and increasing mental resiliency through innovative measures like Mental Health First Aid, the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, Suicide Prevention, and the Mental Health Strategy for Canada.

Ed is also a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, holds a Master’s of Science Administration, and is a Certified Health Executive.

Andrew Galley, PhD

National Research & Policy Analyst CMHA National

Andrew Galley is a public policy researcher with a doctorate in Anthropology specializing in health care systems and the human interactions that take place within them every day. He is a National Research and Policy Analyst at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s National Office.

Marya Jaleel

Program Manager Mental Health Commission of Canada

Marya Jaleel is a Program Manager at the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Her work focuses on the mental health needs of people involved with the criminal justice system. She has previously worked in the HIV field on health promotion and harm reduction programs in correctional facilities. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of British Columbia.

Mo Korchinski

Executive Director Unlocking the Gates Services Society

Mo Korchinski is the Executive Director of Unlocking The Gates Services Society which is a organization that supports individuals leaving prisons in BC. Mo worked as a research lead on the research project “Doing Time” at UBC’s Department of Family Practice Research Office. Mo graduated from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014. Mo’s passion is working with individuals who are involved in the justice system as Mo has many years herself been incarcerated due to a long history with drug addiction.

A2: Building 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion Among Mental Health Services Through Collaborative Action

The Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Collaborative of Peel is a collection of organizations whose main goal is to increase coordination and leadership in Peel’s health and human services sectors related to lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community needs and interests.

Despite Peel Region’s accomplishments in addressing social justice issues, 2SLGBTQ+ communities still experience homophobia, transphobia, invisibility, lack of belonging, and mental distress as a result of social isolation; these experiences lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Guided by a community needs assessment, this collaborative builds organizational capacity through training while supporting the creation of more intentionally and meaningfully inclusive and safe spaces.

This session will review the programs, practices and policies that have been created as a result of the Collaborative. Attendees will hear from members of the Collaborative on how the project derives inclusion regionally through its visible 2SLGBTQ+ representation in community and service provider spaces.

Allegra Morgado (Moderator)

2SLGBTQ+ Special Projects Coordinator Moyo Health & Community Services

Allegra Morgado (she/her pronouns) is a queer, cis, white woman and currently the 2SLGBTQ+ Special Projects Coordinator at Moyo Health & Community Services. Her past experiences with program development, training, facilitation and youth work help inform her current role coordinating the 2SLGBTQ+ Collaborative of Peel Region. Allegra is passionate about reproductive justice, sexual health and accessibility, and loves the ongoing process of learning and unlearning that comes with social justice work and activism.

Yoshith Perera

MPH, MDes (c), Manager, 2SLGBTQ+ Programs Moyo Health & Community Services

Yoshith Perera (he/him pronouns) identifies as a queer, South Asian settler on this land and is a healthcare disruptor at heart. Equipped with formal education in Public Health and Clinical Medicine and currently working towards a Master’s in Health Design with OCAD University, he has navigated a variety of experiences supporting health communications, primary healthcare delivery and community health promotion programs. His experiences are shaped by the importance of centering community voices and working with communities to support health equity gains.

Lisa Mahabir

RSSW, Manager CMHA Dufferin

Lisa Mahabir is a Clinical Manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin branch and has been a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ Collaborative of the Peel Region for the past two years. Lisa is a Registered Social Service Worker who has been working in community mental health for the past 13 years. She obtained a BA in Psychology from York University. Lisa has participated in training with the Mental Health Commission of Canada that involved closing the gap in knowledge translation. With this training, she embarked on a project at CMHA to implement a 2SLGBTQ+ support group aimed at supporting mental health. Lisa’s passion in community-based work involves developing ways to better provide inclusive services for marginalized populations.

Eva Simone

Trans Advocate, Peer Educator, Community Organizer and performing artiste are few of the hats which Eva Simone wears. More specifically, as a Black, immigrant, Transgender-woman, Eva’s advocacy while not exclusive to, primarily stems from her own intersections and lived-experiences. In her own words, “… Advocacy feels more authentic having lived-experiences. My very existence as a result of my intersections and lived experiences is political, therefore I AM political…”

A3: Mapping and Equalizing Power: Co-production for mental health and substance use services

Peer co-production is the process of professionals and people with lived experience of mental health and substance use sharing power to develop, deliver and evaluate services and systems together. Peers intimately understand the gaps and shortfalls of services and can identify strategies for positive systems change, but co-production within community, health authorities and provincial ministries can only be realized if there is widespread recognition of their expertise and support for equitable working conditions.

This presentation will discuss and share findings from CMHA BC’s recent policy project on peer employment and co-production. Our research team has been mapping peer programs and positions throughout BC to identify and advocate for working conditions that support a systemic change towards the co-design, co-delivery and co-evaluation of services. We’ll report on current peer employment practices within the province, share our experience piloting co-production, and identify organizational strategies for sharing power and uplifting peers.

Amelia Hemfelt

Policy Analyst CMHA BC Division

Amelia Hamfelt is a Policy Analyst at CMHA BC. Her work focuses on researching and advocating for public policy that centres the expertise of people with lived experience and upholds our human right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. Previously she held the position of Knowledge Exchange Coordinator for Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses and completed a MPhil at the University of Cambridge.

Jessy Knight

Peer Researcher CMHA BC Division

Jessy Knight is a Peer Researcher with CMHA BC. Jessy has a long history of Harm Reduction and Drug User activism that has focussed on dismantling systemic violence and enabling safe spaces and relationships, accessibility and trauma-informed care. She is also co-founder of a peer-run community group in Nanaimo, BC called Open Heart Collaborative and a consultant for Vancouver Island Health Authority. All her work strives to create true partnerships between people with lived experience and the organizations that serve them: “Nothing about us without us.”

Kat Golik

Peer Researcher CMHA BC Division

Kat Golik is a Peer Researcher with CMHA BC. Kat uses her foundational experience in the mental health sector as a Peer Support Worker and consumer to further equity for peers and advocate for the destigmatization of mental health and peer work in the greater community. Kat has been working as a Peer Support Worker for around 10 years under Vancouver Coastal Health on various mental health teams and been involved in community outreach for Vancouver-based ACT teams.

A4: The Improving Treatment Together Project: Applying a Community-Based Co-design Framework

The goal of the Improving Treatment Together (ITT) project is to improve experiences and outcomes of community-based opioid use treatment services for young people (age 12-29 years), as well as for their families and for the service providers who provide these treatment services for young people. The project aimed to achieve this goal by developing youth-centered and evidence-informed products for opioid use treatment services provided to youth and to implement and evaluate the impact of these products with community partners in AB and BC (i.e., youth health services organizations). The project utilized a community-based co-design framework that positions these stakeholder groups (youth, family members, and service providers) as the experts in identifying and designing solutions to improving current-state treatment services. The presentation will highlight this novel process by using a case study from each of the provincial partners.

Christina Katan

Knowledge Broker Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Christina Katan is a Knowledge Broker at the Centre for Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). She obtained her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Edinburgh where she focused on qualitative research and developing and evaluating public health programs. At CCSA, Christina is a part of the Improving Treatment Together Project (ITT) which seeks to improve experiences of opioid use treatment services for young people in BC.

Faria Khan

Provincial Initiatives Consultant Alberta Health Services

Faria Khan has been working with Alberta Health Services for over 6 years. She completed her Master’s in Public Health specializing in global health and diplomacy. Her current role with Alberta Health Services is as a Provincial Initiatives Consultant working in addiction and mental health with a focus on youth. She is currently involved in several provincial and national projects to address the on-going opioid crisis impacting youth and young adults.

Skye Barbic

PhD, MSc, BScOT, Reg. OT(BC) Assistant Professor University of British Columbia

Dr. Skye Barbic is a registered occupational therapist with a clinical sub-specialist interest is the rehabilitation of adults with serious mental illness. Her clinical training was at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and she completed her doctoral studies at McGill University. Skye completed her post-doctoral fellow at UBC in the Departments of Psychiatry and Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, which followed her first post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto where she applied her expertise in health outcomes measurement to the field of psychiatry and mental health rehabilitation. She is an active member of the health outcomes research community and was awarded the top New Investigator Award at the International Society of Quality of Life Research congress for her work in the application of modern measurement methods to understanding depression. Skye has taught courses in occupational therapy and supervised students at the University of Toronto, McGill and Queen’s. She is passionate about her profession and her goal is to promote the role for occupational therapists as evidence-based leaders in mental health rehabilitation and beyond.

Jordan Melnychuk

Jordan Melnychuk is a 27 year old male, passionate about people, music and sharing the wisdom of our own unique experiences. With lived addiction and mental health experience, I bring knowledge and understanding to the table. I’ve worked on the Edmonton Opioid Response Initiative and am involved with the working group that brought iOAT in Alberta to life. The last year, I have been involved with YAMHPAC and the ITT Project through various consultations, presentations, and facilitations. Most of the work has been online since March, so I am experienced with working on Zoom or Skype.

A5: Postvention Program: Being Ready To Act After A Suicide (Presented in French with English interpretation)

La présentation du programme permet de voir les avantages de la préparation avant que survienne un suicide, de reconnaître les rôles de chacun des acteurs impliqués et les conditions gagnantes de l’implantation d’un tel programme dans un milieu. Le Programme de postvention s’adresse aux institutions et aux organismes qui offrent des services de postvention ou qui sont interpellés à intervenir à la suite d’un suicide. Il s’adresse également aux établissements ou aux administrateurs de différents milieux scolaires (secondaire, collégial et universitaire), milieux de travail ou milieux de vie (centre jeunesse, communauté, etc.), qui souhaitent se préparer et agir adéquatement pour limiter les impacts d’un tel geste.

The presentation of the program shows the benefit of preparing before a suicide occurs and recognizing the roles of those involved, as well as the right conditions for implementing such a program. The Postvention Program is for institutions and organizations that offer postvention services or that are involved in intervention after a suicide. It is also designed for all levels of schools (high school, college and university) and their administrators, workplaces, and community settings (youth centres, etc.) that want to prepare and take action to limit the impact of a suicide.

Françoise Roy

Conseillère clinique Association québécoise de prévention du suicide

Françoise Roy, M.Éd., est responsable clinique de l’intervention numérique à l’Association québécoise de prévention du suicide et consultante en prévention suicide et développement des compétences. Elle oeuvre en prévention depuis 35 ans et a été impliquée dans différentes organisations locales, régionales et provinciales pour le développement des compétences des intervenants et des formateurs en prévention du suicide. Conférencière reconnue, Françoise Roy est co-auteure de plusieurs programmes de prévention du suicide ou de formations, notamment la formation Intervenir auprès de la personne suicidaire à l’aide de bonnes pratiques ainsi que le Programme de postvention : être prêt à agir à la suite d’un suicide (Séguin, Roy et Boilar, 2020). Françoise Roy est également chargée de cours à l’Université du Québec en Outaouais.

A6: Factors Contributing To Alcohol, Cannabis And Tobacco Use During COVID-19

Life has changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Canadians experience changes in all aspects of life, including physical and mental health, employment, job conditions, schooling, the closure of shops and services, and increased social isolation due to public health mitigation efforts (such as physical distancing). As a result, many Canadians have adopted coping strategies that may include increased alcohol and cannabis consumption (CCSA May Omnibus Research, 2020). However, changes related to substance use, specifically alcohol, cannabis and tobacco by sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., level of education), vulnerable subpopulations (e.g., individuals with comorbidities) and mental health status (e.g., symptoms of stress and anxiety) have yet to be described. Using data from the Canadian Perspective Survey Series, this presentation will examine how self-reported substance use patterns have changed during the pandemic, as well as the individual, familial, societal and community risk and protective factors in relation to alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use.

Melissa Baker

Senior Epidemiologist Public Health Agency of Canada

Dr. Melissa Baker is a Senior Epidemiologist working at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Over the last 14 years, Melissa has worked on chronic and infectious disease investigations, including clinical prevention epidemiology and surveillance on the incidence of STIs and HIV among migrant populations in Asia and Europe, Ebola and measles outbreaks in Africa, and VALI and COVID-19 in Canada.

Melissa has a doctorate in public health from Chulalongkorn University and completed post doctoral training in epidemiology from the University of Amsterdam and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Theresa Procter

Epidemiologist Public Health Agency of Canada

Theresa Procter is an epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Theresa currently conducts vaping- related harms and COVID-19 surveillance. Theresa has also worked in local public health units in Ontario, supporting both infectious and non-infectious diseases. Her experience includes surveillance, outbreak response, survey development and analysis, program evaluation, and data communication.

Jeyasakthi Venugopal

Epidemiologist Public Health Agency of Canada

Jeyasakthi Venugopal is a recent graduate of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and is currently an Epidemiologist within the Substance-Related Harms Division at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is currently working on cannabis-related harms’ surveillance, and comes from a background in community-based mental health and emergency medicine research.

Elia Palladino, MSc Candidate

Student Epidemiologist Public Health Agency of Canada

Elia Palladino is a second year Master’s of Science student at Carleton University and a member of the Cannabis, Alcohol, Vaping and E-cigarette Surveillance Team at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Elia’s current focus is alcohol-related harms surveillance and she has experience in community-based participatory research and maternal health.

Aganeta Enns

Epidemiologist/Biostatistician Public Health Agency of Canada

Aganeta Enns is an epidemiologist/biostatistician with the Integrated Data and Enhanced Analytics team in the Substance-Related Harms Division at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She has a background in mixed-methods research and currently works on applied research and surveillance projects focused on substance use and related harms among Canadians. 

Youth Perspectives

Moderator:  Elana Ludman, BCom., MSc.

Vice President, Youth Mental Health

Graham Boeckh Foundation

Elana Ludman is the Vice President, Youth Mental Health. In her role, she works with a variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, mental health experts, philanthropic foundations, service providers, and youth and their families to support Integrated Youth Services across Canada. Prior to GBF, Elana worked at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation where she was the Social Innovation Advisor and worked closely with the President to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships and advance organizational priorities in child and youth mental health, early childhood development and Indigenous reconciliation.

Before philanthropy, Elana worked at the Canadian Government as a Program Advisor in the Ministry of Employment and Social Development, where she advised on their children and families portfolio and supported non-profit organizations across the country as they scaled their social innovations. Elana has also worked in the community sector, with Habitat for Humanity Argentina as a Field Coordinator, and with Santropol Roulant, a youth-run non-profit organization in Montreal, where she served as the Director of Development and Communications for five years. In her spare time, Elana sits on the Board of Directors of Apathy is Boring, a national organization looking to engage young people in democracy through art and technology, and the Museum of Jewish Montreal, a local organization re-defining the definition of museums as it looks to engage people across cultures and generations. Elana holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and a Masters in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics.

Seren Friskie

Provincial Youth Peer Engagement Coordinator Foundry

Seren Friskie is an Indigenous student of Cree and Sto:lo ancestry finishing up her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Thompson Rivers University & Douglas College. Seren has a passion for youth health and wellness and has worked with various organizations and research projects, including CMHA-BC, SARAVYC, iMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Sexual Violence on Campuses, We Matter, and most recently Foundry. At Foundry Seren is a Provincial Youth Peer Engagement Coordinator and thankful to be working to revolutionize care for Youth in BC. Seren also volunteers, working with marginalized communities in British Columbia to push for change. She is an organizer in her community, bringing awareness and advocating for Indigenous sovereignty, justice for MMIWG, and Truth and Reconciliation in what is currently Canada. When she is not working or in class, she is advocating on the front lines, exploring all that the Coast Salish land has to give us, or spending time with her family and friends.

Siciida Ibrahim

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Siciida Ibrahim is a young mental health advocate living in Edmonton, Alberta. She completed her undergraduate Psychology degree at the University of Alberta and is employed with the federal department of Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC) along with the University of Alberta’s department of Pediatrics. Siciida’s background in psychology, health research and community development has fueled her passion in culturally competent mental health advocacy work.

Ally Salama

Ally Salama photoAlly Salama is a Social Entrepreneur, Speaker, Podcaster, Ex-Pro Athlete and The Middle East’s Mental Health Ambassador. He founded, the first Mental Health Magazine in the Middle East, winning Harvard’s Top 7 Most Impactful Social Initiatives in 2019 & earning recognition from the World Health Organization. He hosts Apple’s #1 Charting Youth Leadership Podcast “Empathy Always Wins” – the world’s exclusive youth leadership podcast focusing on empathy and community building. Currently living in Toronto, Ally’s purpose is to empower youth to become more impactful changemakers in the world.

B1: The ACCESS Open Minds network adapts to COVID-19

ACCESS Open Minds (ACCESS OM) is a pan-Canadian research project transforming youth mental health services in 16 diverse sites across Canada. ACCESS OM is delivering and evaluating high quality, timely and accessible youth mental health services built around local strengths and realities. COVID-19 brought about drastic change to which the ACCESS OM network had to rapidly adapt. The ACCESS OM central office modified the way in which it supported sites and its communications and knowledge translation strategy. Each site had to re-think its service delivery, its role within the community and the meaning of care in times like these. This storyboard presentation will share the various impacts of COVID-19 on the ACCESS OM network with inputs from the sites and central office around their adaptations and challenges. It will cover a number of different adaptations and challenges related to digital initiatives, engagement, addressing basic needs and surprising positive impacts.

Cat Lau

Knowledge Translation and Communications Coordinator ACCESS Open Minds

Cat Lau is passionate about making research and science accessible through creative mediums. Formerly trained in the field of psychology and neuroscience, followed by experience in science communication/outreach, she is particularly interested in how mental health knowledge is communicated and mobilized. Currently, she is the Knowledge Translation & Communications Coordinator for ACCESS Open Minds, where she co-develops materials with diverse stakeholders on improving youth mental health in Canada.

Chloe Guinaudie

Knowledge Translation and Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator ACCESS Open Minds

After studying Neuroscience for five years, Chloe Guinaudie decided to combine her interest in mental health difficulties with her desire to help others voice their knowledge by becoming a Knowledge Translation & Research Coordinator at ACCESS Open Minds. She now works with youth, family/carers, researchers and service providers to develop impactful resources that explain why and how youth mental health services should be improved across Canada.

Feodor Poukhovski-Sheremetyev

National Youth Council Member ACCESS Open Minds

Feodor Poukhovski-Sheremetyev is a second-year medical student at the University of Ottawa. He sits on the ACCESS OM National Youth Council and has advised mental healthcare policy at the local, provincial, and national scales. This advocacy has led him to examine the macrosocial determinants of psychopathology through research projects in psychiatry and sociology.

B2: Trauma-Informed Practice: Integration at All Levels of Practice

Trauma-informed Practice can be applied as an approach to service planning, delivery and evaluation that takes into account the prevalence and impact of trauma in the lives of individuals and communities including organizations. The trauma-informed practice approach integrates core principles of trauma-informed practice and is intended to be universally applied, ensuring that practice is responsive to the impact of trauma, promotes safety and reduces re-traumatization. Trauma-informed practice is relevant to settings that work with any client group who may have experienced trauma. This may include but is not limited to: nursing, social services, emergency services and those who work with the public. In this session you will learn about the core principles of trauma-informed practice and their impact. You will build knowledge and awareness of the effects of traumatic stress and will learn about how to incorporate trauma-informed practice into organizational culture, policies and procedures and service delivery.

Tiffany Beeston, MN

Manager (A), Child and Family Health Division York Region Public Health

Tiffany Beeston is currently an Acting Manager for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program at York Region Public Health. She completed her Master’s of Nursing at the Athabasca University in 2018 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ryerson University (2002). Tiffany has worked in key public health areas including mental health promotion, health equity and maternal health. Most recently, she played a key role supporting York Region Public Health’s Trauma-Informed Practice Initiative, supporting the Child and Family Health Division to integrate Trauma-Informed Practice into program and service delivery. Tiffany is passionate about supporting parents and caregivers in creating positive and nurturing relationships with their children, as well as strengthening family resiliency so children can grow up in supportive environments created by their caregivers and the community.

Valerie D'Paiva

MN, Manager, Child and Family Health, York Region Public Health

Valerie D’Paiva has a Master’s of Nursing degree with a focus on Health in the Community. She also holds Certificates in Municipal Management, Solution Focused Coaching, Lean Healthcare Greenbelt, Innovation in a Box, Workplace Mental Health Leadership and Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Valerie is an experienced leader at York Region Public Health where she enthusiastically works with her team and community partners to provide evidence-based, quality programs and services to parents and their families. Valerie has led various strategies and projects including those focused on best practices for Mental Health Promotion, Perinatal Mental Health, Family Violence Prevention, the Brain Story and Trauma-Informed Practice. Valerie is also on the Board of Directors for The Adoption Council of Ontario where she volunteers her time and shares her knowledge and skills to better serve children, youth and families. Valerie hopes to build a trauma-informed culture throughout our communities to enable people to access quality care and continue with needed service

B3: Income Independence & Mental Illness: A Hopeful Future?

Diagnosed with Bipolar I in 2010, I have consistently struggled to balance an innate desire to be an impactful individual with the realities of my condition. Currently stable, self-employed, and on disability support for under a year, the current Covid-19 crisis thrusts me into uncertainty about future income – but a strong sense of purpose and hope for a positive future have been cultivated through the broadening of skills and perspective through experience collection; learning a variety of strategies and coping tools along the way.

The presentation will first explore the decade-long quest for a personal livelihood while finding meaning in helping others, attaining basic needs and curating my own livelihood.

Second, the presentation will delve into the crucial tools that helped to build my capacity for hope regarding my career path and income sources.

Lastly, we will discuss three current gaps I noticed since starting to receive support from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) this year.

Cara Gooding

Founder Momovado Inc.

Diagnosed with Bipolar I at the end of a university trip in the U.K., Cara has always wrestled with accepting how her brain works differently than others. After returning to Toronto and forgoing disability benefits, she ended up working at the busiest Apple Store in Canada and later training to be a Montessori teacher-guide. Despite over 15 hospitalizations in 10 years of diagnosis, her curiosity and determination has brought her to over 20 countries, often working remotely while using travelling as a form of therapy. Cara has taught English in France and Egypt, built infrastructure for several non-profits in Ontario, and managed international projects and teams. For her recovery, Cara heavily utilizes reframing for positive thinking and music for self-care. She is currently focused on building an events & administration agency that provides opportunities to those with mental illness and addiction.

Bartholemew Hugh Campbell

Mental Health Advocate

Bart Hugh Campubell knew from an early age that he and his family were different. After many challenging years of living with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and hearing voices, Bart learned how to effectively advocate for himself and take active steps towards recovery. He says he “retired from corporate life and became the CEO of his own life.” Now, he is a mental health advocate and inspirational speaker who believes that our mental health conditions do not define who we are. Bart emphasizes that people living with mental health conditions can get well, stay well, and live in recovery.

Ruth White, PhD, MPH, MSW

Clinical Associate Professor University of Southern California School of Social Work

Ruth White, PhD, MPH, MSW is a thought leader, change catalyst and advocate in mental health and diversity/equity/inclusion. Dr. White is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. Prior to USC Dr. White gained tenure at Seattle University, and she has also taught at UC Berkeley, Fordham University and San Francisco State. She has worked as a social worker while living in the UK, USA and Canada, and has collaborated with non-profits, corporations, governments, and academic institutions across the globe. Inspired by her own journey of recovery and resilience with bipolar disorder, Dr. White is a mental health activist and advocate who helps organizations reduce stress, burnout and compassion fatigue. As a DEI consultant she supports organizations in becoming more equitable and inclusive. With more than 20 years of public speaking experience, Dr. White has built a reputation for thought-provoking keynotes, lectures, presentations, writings and workshops that lead to paradigm shifts, organizational change, and personal growth.

B4: Social Impact at The Heart of Mental Health Promotion (Presented in French with English interpretation)

Depuis peu, des initiatives visant l’impact social, et non plus juste l’impact économique, émergent dans le secteur privé. Bien entendu, la promotion du bien-être a des effets sur le fonctionnement d’une organisation, et même de la société. Aujourd’hui, certains incubateurs d’innovation sociale se sont spécialisés dans les projets qui se développent avec cet optique, créant un véritable écosystème pour instiller l’espoir en l’avenir. L’AQPAMM accompagne les familles et l’entourage d’une personne vivant avec un trouble de santé mentale, et a choisi, fort de son histoire, de s’investir auprès des gestionnaires dans les organisations via un programme de formation innovant. EmoScienS est une jeune compagnie qui développe une IA bienveillante dans le but de rendre ses utilisateurs conscients de leurs émotions, et à l’affût de leurs changements d’humeur persistants. Ensemble, ils vous dresseront le portrait de la manière dont de telles initiatives entrepreneuriales peuvent agir au niveau global pour le mieux-être de tous.

Recent initiatives have emerged in the private sector that target social, and not just economic, effects. Of course, fostering well-being has an impact on the functioning of organizations and society at large. Social innovation incubators have been working on projects from this perspective, creating an ecosystem to instill hope for the future. The AQPAMM supports families and those who know individuals with a mental health problem and, given its historical strengths, it has decided to work with managers of organizations through an innovative training program. EmoScienS is a young company that is developing benevolent AI to make users more aware of their emotions and persistent changes in mood. Together, they will present how entrepreneurial initiatives can join forces for personal well-being.

Pierrich Plusquellec, PhD

Professeur, et CEO Université de Montréal, et EmoScienS

David Ford Johnson

Directeur général AQPAMM
B5: Finding Hope: A Panel Discussion on Implementing Kids Help Phone's Comprehensive Indigenous Action Plan

Finding Hope: Kids Help Phone’s Action Plan for Supporting First Nation, Inuit, and Métis Young People was released in 2019 with the ongoing leadership of our Indigenous Advisory Council. The action plan includes seven goals and 37 specific actions that outline how we will identify and reduce barriers to access, contribute to Indigenous economies, make certain that our services are equitable, and support the transition of Indigenous students into the workforce.

Speakers on this panel will provide examples that clearly demonstrate how Kids Help Phone collaborates with Indigenous communities to address service barriers and enhance service delivery. Highlighted projects include: employing OCAP® principals to engage with youth in partnership with eight Indigenous communities; rebuilding a successful mainstream outreach program for Indigenous audiences; creating service access points in communities for young people to connect with remote services; and partnering with Indigenous communities to connect youth with Indigenous emergency services.

Deanna Dunham

Manager, Indigenous Initiatives Kids Help Phone

Since 2018, Deanna Dunham has been thrilled to lead Kids Help Phone’s Indigenous Initiatives. Previously, she Deanna worked for 19 years in Indigenous engagement as an entrepreneur on Six Nations of the Grand River where she is a Mohawk member, and as the media and communications director at Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Jules Arita Koostachin

Jules Arita Koostachin, is MoshKeKo Cree and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation. A digital storyteller, media artist, and author, Jules is a PhD candidate with the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia — her research focus is on Indigenous documentary.

Dr. Gail Lafleur

Dr. Gail Lafleur, Gitigaaningkwe-Garden Woman, is a member of Nipissing First Nation, Mink Clan. Her understanding of the importance of sharing our gifts comes from our original teacher and elder-Shkagamik-kwe (Mother Earth). She would like to honor her elders in sharing our teachings for bringing hope to future generations.

B6: Grassroots Peer Support Approaches

Caregiver Connections and OSI-CAN are two grassroots peer support programs in Alberta. Using evidence-based skill development, both programs aim to use peers with lived experience as an effective support system for others in their communities. Caregiver Connections supports caregivers of those living with a mental illness or with a mental health concern, while OSI-CAN focuses on first responders and front-line service workers facing mental health concerns. Although these two projects approach peer support in unique ways, both are developed at a community-level to meet the needs of the diverse populations in our province. This presentation explains how these programs gained government support, have been delivered in partnership with CMHA, and have supported urban and rural communities. It will describe the steps taken to organize and mobilize peer support and provide examples of how peer support can create meaningful connections to those in need.

Kolbi Kukurba

Project & Public Relations Manager CMHA Alberta Division

Kolbi Kukurba is a proud Albertan living in a rural county outside of Edmonton with her two rescue dogs. She has spent her professional career in the not-for-profit sector, developing programs, managing projects and connecting individuals to the important work through strong communications and advocacy strategies. As the Project & Public Relations Manager for Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Alberta Division, she identifies province-wide opportunities and initiatives which build the potential for the improved mental health of all Albertans. In this role, she manages a provincial-wide network of peer-to-peer family support for parents and caregivers of those with mental illness or a mental health concern. The program coordinates regional CMHA offices in implementing peer-support within their communities

Mike Skinner

Provincial Coordinator OSI-CAN

For the past 28 years, Mike Skinner has been a Firefighter/Paramedic, a career filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Today, he’s humbled to be the Provincial Coordinator of OSI-CAN (AB) a community-based peer support initiative, empowering veterans and first responders to be self-determined in finding better mental health through programs that support recovery, resiliency and growth.

Jason Trenholm

Provincial Coordinator OSI-CAN

Jason Trenholm is a retired 20-year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He served the majority of his career with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, Alberta, participating in 3 operational tours. Since being medically released due to both physical and mental health injuries sustained overseas, Jason has been the co-creator and provincial coordinator of OSI-CAN Alberta.

B7: Supporting Lived Experiences with Cannabis through Community Based Research

This presentation will share the process of developing and launching the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Community Based Research (CBR) projects in cannabis and mental health.

The MHCC undertook a unique approach to launching the Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP was designed with support and input from community members to elicit research that centers the lived experience of priority populations, including people with lived and living experience of cannabis use and mental health issues, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized populations, LGBTQ2S+ communities and communities who experience layered oppression.

Participants will learn about the process the MHCC undertook to launch the RFP, including hosting community-based forums and working with community partners to develop the RFP, and partnering with CBR “hubs” across Canada to support applicants.

This presentation will be presented by a member of the Mental Health & Substance Use team at the MHCC, and a person with lived experience who attended one of the CBR forums and was a member of the Review Committee for the CBR grants.

Cara Kane

Cara is a Knowledge Broker with the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health & Substance Use team, supporting the MHCC’s funding opportunity for Community-Based Research in Cannabis & Mental Health. Cara brings her front-line experience as a mental health and substance use counsellor and passion for equity and inclusion into her work in cannabis research and knowledge exchange. She is an advocate for the meaningful engagement of people with lived experience in research, policy and practice.

Leanne Minichillo

Leanne is a powerful voice in advocating for an understanding of, and empathy toward, mental health concerns.

A 1st Voice perspective from living 40 years with undiagnosed ADHD, and then [still] learning how to parent with it, Leanne encourages a more compassionate future for herself and others by honestly sharing insights and resources through her websites and public forum,

Leanne was an active participant in the Community Based Research Forum, hosted by the MHCC, and has remained engaged in the Community Based Research project as a member of the Review Committee.

C1: Mental Wellbeing and COVID-19: NGO Perspectives From Asia and Canada

In late 2019, COVID-19 was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China and rapidly spread in mid-March to neighbouring countries in Asia, and subsequently across Europe, North America, and Latin America. As the number of confirmed cases and deaths continued to rise, countries responded to pandemic control with stringent measures like border control, quarantine, lockdowns, and physical distancing – changing the ways in which we live. As a corollary, the public has reported higher levels of anxiety, confusion, and fear. Addressing mental health issues associated with COVID-19 is crucially important, and mental health promotion measures should be integrated into pandemic responses. In this panel, we will discuss mental health promotion and COVID-19 from an NGO perspective in three countries: Taiwan and Singapore, two of the first few countries first affected by the epidemic, and Canada, where the confirmed cases and death toll began to rise from mid-March.

Chueh Chang, Sc.D., MPH

Former President and Current Executive Supervisor Mental Health Association in Taiwan

Chueh Chang is a professor, researcher, and an advocate with over 35 year’s experiences in public health. Area of research interest includes mental health, women’s studies and health, twins studies, empowerment, and policy evaluation. Chueh’s particular interest is in mental health promotion and gender mainstreaming. Since 1999, Chueh has advocated the importance of strengthening disaster mental health response and has been involved in mental health reconstruction policies and research. Chueh’s research team has developed related initiatives of 921 Earthquake (1999), SARS (2003), Typhoon Morakot (2009), and COVID-19 (2020).

Chueh has previously served as the President of Mental Health Association in Taiwan (1995-1997; 2001-2003; 2015-2019), and Board Member of World Federation for Mental Health (2001-2005; 2015-2019). Chueh now serves as the Coordinator of Mental Health Action Alliance, Advisor of Global Alliance for Mental Health Advocates, and Executive Supervisor of Mental Health Association in Taiwan.

Shu-Jen Lu, PhD, MPH

President Mental Health Association in Taiwan

Shu-Jen Lu, Ph. D., President of Mental Health Association in Taiwan completed her MPH in Health Policy and Management and Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy from National Taiwan University. She dedicates herself to developing and enhancing the resilience of people with mental disability on their recovery journey and promoting mental health in the workforce area. She has over 36 years’ experience in the mental health sector as a clinician, administrator, teacher, researcher, mental health advocate and lobbyist and implementer of mental health services.

Shu-Jen has previously served as the President of Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association (1994-1998) and Director of Taoyuan Psychiatric Hospital (2004-2009). Shu-Jen now serves as the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation Resource Center in Taoyuan-Hsinchu-Miaoli Region, President of Harm Reduction Association in Taiwan, President of Mental Health Association in Taiwan, and Regional Vice President Asia Pacific of World Federation for Mental Health.

Porsche Poh

Executive Director Silver Ribbon Singapore

Ms Porsche Poh currently serves as the Executive Director of Silver Ribbon (Singapore), Board Member of World Federation for Mental Health, Social Service Fellow, Member of The Leadership Selection Panel, Associate Trainer with the Civil Service College and Mental Health First Aid Trainer, certified by Mental Health First Aid Australia & Mental Health First Aid Singapore. She has also launched a number of publications and presented on mental health promotion & advocacy locally and overseas including University of Oxford, Cambridge University, and the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women @ the United Nations Headquarters in New York. For her contribution in mental health promotion & advocacy, she received a list of awards including The Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award from the Junior Chamber International, Community of Practice Mental Health Champion from the Social Service Training Institute, Singapore Woman Award, and Social Service Fellowship Award from National Council of Social Service.

Melodie Song

CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellow, Equitable AI for Public Health Public Health Ontario

Melodie Song is a Health Systems Impact Postdoctoral Fellow at Public Health Ontario. She received a degree in Health Policy at McMaster University in 2018. She has worked for the Taiwan Ministry of Technology and Health, collaborating with MHAT’s Chueh Chang on mentally healthy cities initiatives in the late 2000s

Mary Bartram, PhD, MSW

Director, COVID-19 Policy Mental Health Commission of Canada

Mary Bartram, PhD has led mental health and substance use policy development and implementation with federal and territorial governments, indigenous organizations and NGOs. She is the Director, COVID-19 Policy Response with Mental Health Commission of Canada and and teaches courses in public policy at Carleton University.

C2: Suggestions For Culturally Responsive E-Mental Health Services

Canada’s ethnic minorities experience difficulties such as language barriers, difficulty navigating the healthcare system, and lack of culturally tailored resources, compared to the general population when accessing mental health services. Technology can improve quality and access to this underserved population through e-mental health which involves services and information delivered through the Internet and related technologies. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, more e-mental health services will be restructured and implemented to offset psychological challenges while adhering to public health measures. Such services must be culturally tailored for peak effectiveness. This presentation will discuss the suggestions made by ethnic individuals in Metro Vancouver to improve and create culturally-responsive online mental health services from the CREDA Study.

Shawna Narayan

University of British Columbia

Shawna Narayan is a graduate-student researcher with the CREDA Study in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Her research explores the experiences ethnic minorities have with resources for anxiety and depression to help support the creation of culturally responsive e-mental health services.

C3: Building Holistic Services: The Value of Establishing and Leveraging Partnerships

Note: This session was made possible by our partner The Co-operators

This panel session will bring together leading youth mental health organizations to explore the value and impact of working together to provide mental health services to youth across the country. Participants will learn more about available programs that have been established through partnership and how co-operation has advanced the collective goal of holistic resources.

Nicole Almond

President Enactus Canada & Youth Innovation Project

Nicole Almond is the President of Enactus Canada, a national charitable organization that is shaping generations of entrepreneurial leaders. She developed a passion for community development originally as an Enactus student, creating and implementing educational outreach projects in Egypt, Grenada and Canada. Over the past decade she’s mentored hundreds of students, her fellow Enactus country chapter Presidents, and a team of 12 dedicated staff, exemplifying her expertise in youth entrepreneurship and skills development. She currently serves as the Chair of the Enactus Country Leader Council representing her colleagues from the global network.

In addition to being an alumna and President of Enactus Canada, Nicole served as Chair of the Ovarian Cancer Canada Toronto walk for several years and sits on the Board of the Pink Pearl Foundation. She is a passionate female leader and public speaker that helps both businesses.

Jordan Burwash

Director, Development PHE Canada

Jordan Burwash, Director, Development, PHE Canada is an experienced and passionate business professional with over a decade working in the non-profit, charitable sectors. Jordan brings together like-minded partners from all levels of government, corporate and philanthropic Canada, and national to grassroots program providers to advance collective efforts and impact. Now at Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada), Jordan is responsible for developing and strengthening partnerships to champion healthy, active kids by promoting and advancing quality physical and health education opportunities and healthy learning environments.

Judene Stewart

Manager of Corporate Engagement Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Judene Stewart has been working at Boys and Girls Clubs for over 17 years. She first began working in Children and Youth Development at a local Club spending that time creating and supporting youth through the holistic services and supports. During that time Judene also discovered that by creating and developing strong services that the children and youth that she worked with were better served. Currently, she works for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, as Manager of Corporate Engagement supporting Corporate partnerships. Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is Canada’s largest children and youth serving organization supporting over 200,000 children and youth annually in 775 communities across the country.

Jayne Russell

Manager of Public Relations The Co-operators Group Ltd

Jayne Russell is the Manager of Public Relations for The Co-operators Group. She manages strategic brand partnerships in support of The Co-operators areas of focus and in service to its co-operative values and principles. Working with a variety of dedicated partners from both the non-profit and corporate sector, Jayne works to develop engaging programming for communities with real-world societal impacts.

C4: Getting and Giving: Peer Support and The Cultivation of Hope

We will present a panel of suicide loss survivors who have received support and subsequently volunteer in a suicide loss peer support program. They will discuss their journeys from receiving support to giving support to other survivors in the aftermath of their suicide loss. The discussion will focus on the cultivation of hope for themselves and other survivors.

Alex Shendelman

Program Manager Distress Centres of Greater Toronto (Moderator)

Alex Shendelman started as a volunteer in the Traumatic Loss program at Distress Centres of Greater Toronto. After transitioning to the role of program manager, he has particicpated in, encouraged, and witnessed the community of survivors as they repair fractured lives, find new connections and meaning after sudden and violent losses.

Laura Sheridan

A google search brought Laura Sheridan to the Survivor Support Program (SSP) in August 2017, one month after losing her Dad to suicide. This began a healing journey at the Toronto Distress Centre. Through the following year, Laura was a participant in several SSP resources including 2-on-1 peer support, group support and Survivor conferences. She is now a volunteer with the Survivor Support Program which continues to be healing, and personally meaningful. Laura has worked in Sales at Procter & Gamble for 10 years and is on the leadership team for P&G’s mental health advocacy network. Laura lives in downtown Toronto, has a love for abstract painting, a love-hate for running and is a proud cat-mom.

David L. Cooper

David L. Cooper comes to the panel as a suicide loss survivor with lived experience after navigating the lengthy mental illness and subsequent suicide of his son, Eli in 2010. A few months later, David and his wife, Deborah became grateful clients of the Toronto Distress Centre. In dealing with their profound and inexplicable loss, they found the invaluable services offered by the Toronto Distress Centre’s compassionate volunteers to be supportive and healing. David has been a volunteer grief facilitator with The Toronto Distress Centre for the past five years. He and Deborah have written a practical guide for parents who have suffered the loss of a child to suicide, entitled “Bridge Over The River Why”. David will be publishing a second book this Fall called “Never Say Never,” a compilation of stories from people who have experienced significant loss and how they found the ability and their resilience to overcome the pain and grief of loss. David is a Founding Director of and in the midst of opening Eli’s Place, which will be Canada’s first long-term residential treatment and transition centre for 19-35 year olds with serious mental health issues. Eli’s Place is the vision that emerged from David’s lived experience.

Siobhan Dowling

Siobhan Dowling’s younger brother, Brian, died by suicide in 2005, at the age of 23. She was supported in exploring her grief through participating in the Survivor Support Program, which eventually led her to volunteer with the program several years later. Siobhan deeply values the opportunity to provide support to individuals and families who have experienced their own traumatic loss. Her experience has led her to pursue a new career path in social work where she hopes to work within a trauma-informed approach to mental health.

C6: Hope Through Empowerment: Assessment and Virtualization of a Self-Management Support Workshop (Presented in French with English interpretation)

Les pratiques axées sur le rétablissement mettent l’accent sur l’espoir à travers l’empowerment des personnes vivant avec des difficultés de santé mentale. Dans cette lignée, le soutien à l’autogestion est de plus en plus reconnu comme composante essentielle de l’offre de soins. Cependant, les meilleures pratiques en la matière restent à établir. Revivre a développé une expertise en soutien à l’autogestion des troubles anxieux, dépressifs et bipolaires grâce au développement d’ateliers misant sur le savoir expérientiel et l’empowerment. La présentation décrira les résultats d’évaluation des effets de l’atelier de soutien à l’autogestion de l’anxiété. Les résultats suggèrent des bénéfices durables pour le rétablissement des participant.e.s, incluant la confiance en soi et le sentiment d’espoir. Une version virtuelle de l’atelier sera aussi abordée. Le soutien à l’autogestion constitue une voie innovante, appuyée par la recherche, pour favoriser un accès équitable (à faible coût) à des services centrés sur la personne qui favorisent l’espoir.

Practices focused on recovery emphasize hope by empowering people with mental health problems. As part of this approach, self-management support is increasingly seen as an essential part of the health care offer. But best practices in self-management support still need to be established. Revivre has developed expertise in self-management support for anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder through workshops that focus on experiential knowledge and empowerment. This presentation will describe the results of the impact assessment of an anxiety self-management support workshop. The results suggest a lasting impact on participant recovery, including self-confidence and hope. A virtual version of the workshop will also be discussed. Self-management support is an innovative, research-based approach to promote equitable and affordable access to services that foster hope in individuals.

Danielle Germain

MIR, Directrice clinique, Revivre Revivre

Corentin Montiel

Étudiant au doctora Université du Québec à Montréal

Simon Coulombe, PhD

Professeur adjoint Wilfred Laurier University
Keynote: Rising to The Challenge of COVID-19 to Build Hope For Better Mental Health

COVID-19 has had significant impacts on health and mental health. It has been a hard time.

But the pandemic has also shown how nimble governments can be, how quickly services can adapt and that mental health has moved into a more central position in social and political discourse.

Using local and international examples, this talk will discuss how lessons learned during the first wave of COVID-19 can be harnessed to build a new and better normal.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie

CEO Wellesley Institute

Dr. Kwame McKenzie is the CEO of Wellesley Institute and is an international expert on the social causes of mental illness, suicide and the development of effective, equitable health systems.

Dr. McKenzie is also Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and a Full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

As a policy advisor, clinician and academic with over 200 papers and 5 books, and numerous awards he has worked across a broad spectrum to improve population health and health services for over two decades.

He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Poverty, a member of Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel on COVID-19 and Mental Health and served as part of Canada’s Delegation to the High-Level Political Forum on the Social Development Goals.  Dr. McKenzie was previously a Human Rights Commissioner for Ontario and advisor to Ontario’s basic income pilot project. He sits on the board of United Way Toronto and the Ontario Hospitals Association. In addition to his academic, policy and clinical work, Kwame is a columnist for the Guardian, Times-online and Toronto Star and a past BBC Radio presenter.