The National Awards program recognizes the outstanding efforts of CMHA volunteers and staff members in communities throughout Canada who exemplify the spirit of the Association. CMHA salutes the award winners for their efforts to make a difference in mental health in Canada. In 2010, the recipients of awards were as follows:
The C.M. Hincks Award
This award honours the founder of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Clarence Meredith Hincks, for his spirit and social commitment. It is our highest award and it is presented annually to one outstanding individual or organization which has advanced mental health in Canada through their work/volunteer activities by working on behalf of people with mental illness.
Dr. Nancy Hall
Dr. Nancy Hall is receiving this award in recognition of her personal and professional experience. In addition to being an advocate, researcher and leader, Nancy is also a family member who is open about all the struggles that her brother faces and the role of the family. She brings this lens to all of her work in the mental health area.
She has brought attention to issues through her role as the only ever appointed Provincial Mental Health Advocate in BC. In addition she was an expert witness for CMHA at the Braidwood Inquiry which examined the role of the RCMP, tasers and training of police in support of people with a mental illness. This provincial inquiry has had and will have national implications on the training and role of police in their interactions with people with a mental illness.
Nancy is a consultant based in Vancouver. Equipped with a PhD in medical sciences from McMaster University, she has worked across the country developing provincial health care strategies for women and children, seniors, youth and people with disabilities. Her work brings people together to plan, implement or evaluate change. Action learning has always been part of her process and she typically works across sectors. She has worked to develop information systems and databases and partnered with university researchers to investigate and evaluate public health programs. Her work is always a combination of dialogue with communities, government and the private sector.
Nancy brings a professional and family member voice to issues that need to be addressed in ways that professional and the public can understand. She is grounded in the lived experience of people and has a strong core value of empowerment. She brings new learning and research to the attention of local, provincial, and national health leaders and is a trusted advisor and a promoter of CMHA’s core values.
The Edward J. Pennington Innovation Award
This award honours Edward J. Pennington, General Director of CMHA national for some 15 years and celebrates innovative programs at the local, regional or national level of CMHA. It recognizes significant community development, mental health projects, or other programs that exemplify team leadership and innovation in the mental health field.
Mobile Response Team
This award was presented to the Mobile Response Team. The MRT is a resource for all CMHA clients as they offer services to the whole Calgary community and aim to prevent, shorten, and/or minimize the effects of a psychosocial crisis which helps promote mental health and wellness of individuals in the community.
They are a frequently used service by Family Support Clients who report that MRT are of great assistance to them in dealing with crisis situations such as a family member who may be suicidal or self-harming or a family member whose mental health has deteriorated suddenly, and in providing them with information and onward referral as needed. They are also involved with the Supportive Living program at Marguerite House where they have access to 2 respite beds for individuals who are in crisis and need short term accommodation with CMHA support staff.
The MRT services are very accessible and barrier free – they are available in the evenings and on weekends and they meet with people out in the community such as at the person’s home or in other locations that feel safe and comfortable for the client. The MRT team members have show the highest standards of professionalism and card for their clients.
The Mental Health in the Workplace Award
This award recognizes a leader in the promotion of mental health in the workplace and is presented to an organization, company, or employee association which has made mental health a priority.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association, represented by Jonathan Teghtmeyer (Executive Staff Officer)
The Alberta Teachers’ Association is entering into its third year of sponsoring and delivering a mental health program it developed in conjunction with Alberta Division of CMHA. Entitled “Healthy minds, Bright Futures”, it delivers important mental health messaging to Alberta schools with a primary purpose of encouraging students to talk about their concerns and problems.
ATA has spent $100,000 per year to develop and circulate educational and promotional materials. These include a booklet, now in French and English, “Can We Talk?” posters, a series of three television commercials and billboards. It has also brought in Global TV as a project partner to create the TV spots and provide an excellent package of airtime reaching Alberta and Beyond.
The impact of the program is huge as it reaches all 35.000 teachers in the 1,950 public schools. ATA has recognized that there is no health without good mental health and that this starts with children. It also knows the important role that teachers play in helping children deal with mental health issues and in encouraging them to talk about their problems and seek help with needed. The net result of all the materials provided to teachers is the building of a more supportive environment in the schools and beyond, with reduced stigma and a greater likelihood of people seeking help for mental health problems earlier in their development.
The National Distinguished Service Award
This is among the Association’s first awards. It was created to commend one exemplary volunteer in each of the Association’s Divisions. This Award honours the dedicated efforts of volunteers who have given much time and effort to many different services provided by CMHA in the field of mental health.
Dr. Delbert Brodie (New Brunswick)
Del has been contributing to CMHA in New Brunswick since 1985. When the association began to provide extensive Advocacy services, Del served as chair of the committee. The Association was successful in the redesign of a local hospital emergency room to accommodate persons with mental illness. In addition, a report was prepared to advocate for a psychiatric nurse and a quiet safe room in the ER.
Del represented the Fredericton Branch as a member of the board of the Mental Health Commission of New Brunswick. This commission was recognized nationally for its innovative programming and served as a model for many provinces. Through this work changes were made to mental health
centers around the province, and recreational programming was designed for clients to enhance their social lives. As well hospital services were improved and redesigned to meet the changing needs of clients.
As a branch representative on the Division Board of Directors for several years, Del served on the Advocacy Committee and the Vocational Committee as it grew and developed both staffing and government involvement. One of these programs was the Routes to Work project and today several hundred clients have been served well as they embark on their vocational goals.
Del’s greatest attribute with the Association is the commitment he has made for so many years and his relationship with the people to whom we provide service. He is soft-spoken, gentle, caring and supportive in many ways that have been encouraging to those affected by mental illness.
Bill Wright (British Columbia)
Bill has been the chair of the BC Division board for the last three years and the treasurer for several years prior. He has also been an active volunteer as chair of the branch president’s council, past representative to the National board, and president of the Richmond Branch. Bill has been an active volunteer on several BC committees, including Branch Agreement Review Committee, Mental Health and Addictions Committee, the Personnel Committee and the Finance Committee.
Bill is an excellent chair and is always prepared as a leader to bring in a balance discussion concerning Branch needs and focusing the Division on strategic emerging priorities. Bill is always available to the Association to provide advice and support to the staff in their day to day operations. he is always very clear about the policy and operational roles of staff and volunteers. As Richmond Branch president he is very grounded in the experience of people who rely on CMHA for services and support in their local communities. He is also very aware of the needs of branches for support and leadership from Division. Bill is a retired CA who is available, dedicated, and focused on strengthening CMHA within BC.
Jim Watson (Alberta)
Jim Watson has exemplified the leadership qualities so valued in a volunteer Board member, In his 11 years of service, through both the Alberta Division and Central Region Boards of Directors. Jim has selflessly conducted himself with strength and dignity.
In Red Deer, Jim quickly became vice-president in 1999 and remained in that position until he was elected president from which he just recently stepped down. He joined the Alberta Division Board as its Central Region rep in 2000 and during his 10 years on the division board, Jim has held numerous positions.
Jim’s ability to listen to others and bring people together was a key factor in obtaining provincial agreement from CMHA on supporting changes to the Alberta Mental Health Act which included the controversial Community Treatment Orders. His quiet diplomacy was a significant influence on CMHA’s position which helped provide the public support needed for the government to move this bill forward.
These same leadership qualities were of great benefit to the Central Region in enabling its steady growth over the past 10 years. Jim was a great hands-on volunteer participating in the Region’s Wellness Rites for the past two years as well as various other fundraising and volunteer recognition events.
Susan Grohn (Saskatchewan)
Susan, a registered nurse, has been involved with the CMHA Weyburn branch since 1997. She served as a board member, vice-president, and finally President of the branch for six years. She worked extensively in the community to promote the needs of the branch and was successful in gaining a great deal of financial and in-kind resources. She lobbied for a consumer research project with consumer participants lead by Kathleen Thompson. Susan was the key person to promote a campaign in education, prevention and intervention regarding Suicide in Weyburn. This continues to be an extremely successful initiative due largely to Susan’s hard work and consistency in the community and the schools.
Susan joined the Provincial Board in 2003, serving as Vice-president in 2004/05 and as President from 2006-2008. Susan as president attended many meetings with government ministers and officials to advocate for improved policies and services for those with mental health issues in the province. She worked extensively in promoting seniors to be involved in a research project which had local, provincial and national impact.
George Pasieka (Manitoba)
George volunteered for multiple boards as a Director with portfolio (for example vice-chair and chair) for Self Sustaining Creative Opportunities for People in Employment (SSCOPE), CMHA Winnipeg Region and CMHA Manitoba Division.
George made a local impact in Winnipeg in promoting mental health and strong governance models for the not-for-profit boards.
George works tirelessly to minimize mental illness stigmatization and discrimination. he lives to volunteer his time for the promotion of mental health. George is also committed to committee volunteering and is part of various committees such as the Ownership-Linkage Committee, Board Development Committee, and the Capital Campaign Committee all for Winnipeg Region.
The Media Award
This award is to honour those representatives in the media who have made outstanding contributions to the coverage of mental health issues.
The Calgary Herald
The Calgary Herald has played an integral role in helping CMHA Calgary Region promote key messages and events in the community. Most significantly the Herald selected CMHA Calgary Region as one of their 14 representatives for the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund. This fund not only generated over $85,000 for the Street Outreach and Stabilization and Supportive Living Programs, it also did an exceptional job of bringing issues such as homelessness, substance abuse, housing concerns and stigma associated with mental disorders by interviewing staff and clients and featuring articles on the front page of the Herald for approximately six weeks.
This innovative initiative benefited both the community and mental health clients by bringing awareness of issues to the attention of everyone in the community and highlighting the services available through CMHA Calgary Region, while also creating a fundraising opportunity which assists non-profit agencies within the city of Calgary.
The Marjorie Hiscott Keyes Award
This award is presented annually to recognize a health provider’s achievements that mirror those of Marjorie Hiscott Keyes who was the first psychiatric nurse employed in Canada’s first psychiatric hospital.
Sheila Turris is the Outreach Nurse Practitioner with Vancouver Coastal Health with over 20 years of experience. She has been working in partnership with CMHA in varying capacities and brings in-depth medical knowledge, a warm spirit, and a client focused philosophy akin to CMHA’s Framework for Support.
Sheila has recognized the need for people who struggle with a spectrum of mental health issues to have easy access to consistent health care. She runs a weekly drop in clinic for clients who cannot find a family doctor. She provides inoculations and assessments for clients to access treatment, detox and job applications, and performs physicals, follow-up for chronic illnesses and methods for harm reduction. She is also an assessor for clients’ Persons with Disabilities applications.
Sheila has a deep awareness of the suffering of others coupled with the wish to relieve it. She does so in a way that makes the client feel dignified and respected – she does not just see the mental illness, she sees the person and their struggles with the mental illness. She is client focused and adjusts her approach to accommodate individual needs. . She demonstrates interest, compassion, and understanding in her work with persons with mental health issues.
In addition to primary care, Sheila has planned, implemented and followed up with healthy living workshops to educate CMHA clients about relevant medical and health related issues. She has been a gift to those most in need of mental and physical health services.
The Outstanding Volunteer Award
This award was created to commend one hard-working volunteer who has given much time and effort to different services provided by CMHA in the field of mental health.
Josie Sartore has been giving to the Peer Options Program since August 2002. She is tireless in her role as a mentor and in volunteering her time to the Circle of Friends which is the foundational support group of this program. She puts in 20 – 25 hours per month and has direct contact with 70 – 75 clients. The philosophy of the Peer Options Program is to provide hope, support, and encouragement for those who may have been isolated or lost due to the impact of a mental disorder. One way to provide hope and the notion of recovery and wellness is to connect with those who are supportive and empathetic in a consistent trusting manner.
Josie provides connection calls to a minimum of 12 –15 people per week encouraging them to come to the Circle of Friends and this is just the encouragement some need to take the first few steps to wellness. This is only the beginning of her weekly contribution; she attends the circle, organizes walks, and involves clients in socialization through board games, group discussion or one-to-one chats. Add to this her culinary skills that she shares with the group on special occasions as well as her consistent offers to help in any way that is possible. Josie is a kind, generous, giving volunteer who supports members in a solution focused manner which is empowering to clients.
The impact of Peer Support is growing and is recognized locally, provincially, and nationally and is successful because of the giving nature of its volunteers. Josie exemplifies the volunteer peer mentor role within CMHA.
The CMHA Staff Award
This award is presented to any individual CMHA employee or team which has shown significant leadership within the Association at the local, regional, provincial, territorial or national level.
Julie Flatt is the project manager for Routes to Work and coordinator of the National Consumer Advisory Committee (NCAC). As a person with lived experience, Julie has dedicated her life to serving her peers in the Mental Health Community.
Julie has been with the Routes to Work project since it was funded in 1999, and travels across the country to support the program associates and to connect with community partners, business leaders, and participants in this program which offers an individualized approach to employment for citizens with psychiatric disabilities. Her initiative, enthusiasm, and inspiring example have contributed significantly to the efficient use of resources and the success of these projects.
Julie works with the National Consumer Advisory Committee assisting the council to ensure that the voice of citizens with lived experience of mantal illness and/or addiction are incorporated at every level of the CMHA family. Julie supports her peers in ways that promote growth, recovery and wellness. She challenges them to be more capable than they thought they could be and supports them in going beyond what they thought they were capable of.
Julie has been instrumental in supporting local projects to raise awareness about mental illness. She is an avid mental health promoter and employes her positive approach to foster and improve the mental health of those she works with. Her untiring efforts, devotion and loyalty to her peers and the people and programs she supports, her cheerful cooperative approach to all problems and tasks, draws favourable comments from all those with whom she works.
The Consumer Promotion and Inclusion Award
This award is for a friend of the consumer movement who has assisted consumers in empowering themselves and promoted the consumer movement in general.
Lucille Bart has worked tirelessly to assist her son Nigel in his recovery form Schizophrenia and within the past six years to develop and successfully manage Artbeat Studio which is a mental health consumer initiated, peer directed, and recovery oriented program. This community based studio accommodates artists whose mental health, social connection and income make it impractical for them individually to acquire a workspace where they might advance their artistic technique safely and securely.
Lucille has devoted an immense amount of time and energy in facilitating the empowerment and recovery of consumers. She has worked alongside countless consumers encouraging them in their recovery and involvement in community life. In addition to working with consumers and families directly, she acts as the ED of Artbeat Studio securing ongoing funding, liaising with policy makers and pioneering and managing this innovative and unique mental health program.
Lucille has developed a close parallel and partnering relationship with CMHA, directing numerous individuals to CMHA resources and accommodating clients into the Artbeat Studio program. She has been involved in the CMHA Manitoba Kaleidoscope publication in a supportive capacity to the editorial and management team. She recently co-presented at the CMHA Provincial conference in Winnipeg. She contributes on an annual basis at the CMHA Manitoba Heroes Luncheon where she coordinates and organizes the large art display. Lucille is a strong advocate for all consumers and continues to address issues of stigma and discrimination at all levels of society.
The Consumer Involvement Award
This award is presented to a consumer of mental health services who has contributed to the promotion and involvement of other consumers within the CMHA, and honours a consumer who best exemplifies self-determination and strong sense of advocacy.
In February 2009, Davina volunteered to start a Peer Support group with the Peer Support Coordinator at the Kelowna Branch of CMHA. Since that time, the group has grown from 6 members to an average of 26 members. The group’s focus is on wellness and self help and the goals are to break isolation, provide information on mental health and provide emotional support. Davina has presented on a variety of wellness topics that she has applied in her life and which have contributed to her wellness and has also mentored others to contribute to presentations.
Davina is also a mentor with the Peer Support Program. She went through intensive training and has supported 5 individuals formally through CMHA. She has supported many others informally by visiting a peer who has just been admitted for psychiatric care at the hospital or helping a peer create a Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Davina volunteered to tell her story to a local newspaper to help reduce stigma and promote community involvement in the CMHA.
Davina has a positive outlook, is enthusiastic, and has show she has a willingness to learn. These attributes and the genuine care and concern she has for others have made her an exemplary volunteer and advocate. She models hope, personal responsibility, self advocacy and the importance of education and support systems.