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2017 CMHA National Award Winners

CMHA National Award Winners for 2017 are…..

IN 2017, three awards were presented as part of CMHA’s national awards program. Two internal awards, the Strengthening CMHA Award (Le prix de la reconnaissance de l’ACSM) and the Persons with Lived Experience Involvement Award – were both presented at CMHA’s national conference, Mental Health For All: It Takes A Nation, in Toronto. The third award, The C.M. Hincks Award, which is given to a recipient outside of CMHA for workplace mental health excellence, was presented in February at the Bottom Line Conference.

The Persons with Lived Experience Award was awarded this year to Cierra Garrow, of Kenora, Ontario. This award honours a person with lived experience of mental health issues who best exemplifies self-determination and a strong sense of advocacy, and who has made an outstanding contribution to the involvement of persons with lived experience within CMHA and in society in general. The award honours past, present and future leaders and recognizes CMHA’s value of embracing the voice and promoting the inclusion of people with mental health issues.

Cierra has shown outstanding leadership with her work with persons with lived experience who face challenges with FASD, depression, anxiety, and addiction issues. The CMHA National Awards Nominations Committee also very much admired that she has immersed herself in the Anishinaabe culture. This is a testament to her dedication to ensuring that the Indigenous community in Kenora has a voice.

Cierra has been recognized by numerous scholarships for her academic excellence and achievements. These include being on the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Dean’s List all three years of her undergraduate studies and maintaining an 85 plus average. She received the Lakehead University Luminary Leadership Award which honours a student who celebrates diversity and inclusivity, exemplifies academic excellence and commitment, and leadership and innovation. Only four of these awards are given annually to students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Her very strong communication and presentation skills help to ensure that the community is well-versed in mental health issues, and the availability of services. The act of sharing her story as a person with lived experience of mental health issues has helped to curtail the stigma of mental illness that is still experienced in Northwestern Ontario.

Strengthening CMHA Award (Le prix de la reconnaissance de l’ACSM) was presented this year to Diane Vinet, Executive Director of CMHA Quebec Division and Montreal Branch. The award recognizes inspirational leadership, innovation and excellence within CMHA in support of our collective goals and core functions as outlined in our nationwide strategic plan.

The CMHA National Awards Nominations Committee was very impressed with the outstanding leadership Diane showed in supporting the ACSM Montreal branch to expand its mandate to include the Québec Division.

Diane helped solidify the CMHA mission by shepherding the development of a new strategic plan for CMHA Montreal (2017-2021). The new Strategic Plan reflects and reinforces CMHA National’s Strategic Plan (2012-2017), and emphasizes the importance of taking leadership in the arena of mental health public policy and advocacy, as well as articulating what mental health promotion means for the organization. The strategic plan was undertaken with extensive community consultation, in keeping with Diane’s commitment to community inclusion.

Under Diane’s direction, ACSM Montreal Branch has evolved its successful programs, ensuring their continued quality. She has strived to evaluate and improve its suite of programs, which includes a youth program, a program for seniors, a program promoting a mentally healthy approach to solitude, a program about intercultural relations, and a program that brings together service users/people with lived experience, their family members and service providers.

Diane’s participation at the National Provincial Executive Team (NPET) have been paramount to ensuring a truly collective voice within CMHA.

CMHA presented the 2017 C.M. Hincks Award to the Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. at our annual Bottom Line Conference in February. The C.M. Hincks Award honours the spirit and social commitment of the founder of CMHA, Dr. Clarence Meredith Hincks. This top award is provided annually to an outstanding organization that has advanced mental health through its work/volunteer activities in the areas of reducing stigma and discrimination, addressing social justice and the social determinants of health, and maintaining or improving mental health for all.

We were extremely impressed with the many workplace mental health initiatives that Hibernia provides to improve the psychological health and safety of its employees.

The nominating committee was most impressed with their award-winning Hibernia Workforce Mental Health Awareness Program. This program was developed in 2015 by the worker-led Platform Wellness Committee on the premise of ‘Actively Caring’ in our workplace and is strongly supported by their leadership and union. It has three main components: 1) Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid Training 2) Mental Health Awareness ‘Moments for Team Safety’ Meetings 3) Actively Caring in our Community.