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 2009, the recipients of awards were as follows:
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.
Bob Curle has been connected to CMHA in various volunteer capacities since the 1960’s in Manitoba. Although he has contributed at many levels, the focus of his work has been in increasing the quality of life for persons living with mental illness by advocating for safe. affordable housing. Because of his efforts, quality housing has become a reality for citizens living in Brandon, Dauphin and Swan River.
In 2004, Bob headed up a study of homelessness in the entire Parkland Region. The data compiled was given to the Parkland Regional Health Authority and was instrumental in pursuing funding with the Federal and Provincial governments for a housing project for the South Parkland Dauphin area. This project, including 3 emergency housing suites, 5 transitional and 13 affordable housing units. In 2008 the initiative was duplicated in Swan River. Bob Curle’s volunteer commitment will continue to make an impact for many persons living with mental health issues for years to come.
Bob’s role on the Manitoba Division board has also been significant. He is at once a visionary and a reflector and has helped us immensely in planning our strategies and our future goals. He is affectionately referred to as “Senator Bob” at our board table – we have so much respect for his participation, his selfless accomplishments and his loyalty to CMHA.
Sepp Tschierschwitz has been involved with CMHA since 1995 and has served on a local board, the provincial board and the national board. His impact is Association wide. During the cuts to government funding in 2000, Sepp was instrumental in creating the Central Interior Community Services Co-op which included 5 agencies under one roof sharing all administrative services while still preserving the distinct profile and role of each agency. The benefit has been tremendous to the community, the individual agencies, and the Association in British Columbia. The reputation of this co-op is province wide and in times of restraint is the model that politicians and peers refer to.
In addition, Sepp was one of the founding members of the CMHA joint fundraising committee who worked together for years to streamline fundraising requests, to increase skills of branches and divisions and increase donations to the Association, locally, regionally, and provincially.
Sepp is also dedicated to and works hard to develop and implement governance policies that will help boards govern well at every level.
Harold Laite has been actively involved with CMHA Newfoundland for over ten years. He served as a Board member from 2003 to 2005 with a special interest in parents living with a child with a mental illness. He co-led the Family Support Group for several years. And, most wonderfully, he and his wife Elizabeth have been CMHA Newfoundland’s most loyal office volunteers. CMHA Newfoundland is a better organization because of Harold Laite.
Jodi Cohen has dedicated herself to service of CMHA and its governance at all three levels – Calgary Region, Alberta Division, and CMHA National. By her own count, she now has 27 combined years of board service to CMHA, noting that of course she often served concurrently on more than one CMHA board.
Jodi has been an employee of the City of Calgary for many years and was recently named to a newly created position as its Mental Health Liaison, a testament to the outstanding work she had been doing voluntarily for so many years.
Jodi will have completed her service with CMHA Alberta Division Board as of our September 26th AGM. This will also complete her formal involvement with CMHA and we believe it entirely appropriate that she be chosen as the Alberta recipient for the National Distinguished Service Award for 2009.
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. Norm Costigan
Dr. Norm Costigan, a Red Deer, Alberta psychiatrist, has been a member of the Central Region Board of Directors since 1992. His contributions to the mental health field in Red Deer since 1982 have made significant differences in the lives of thousands of individuals and families.
He has a psychiatric practice in Red Deer and is renowned for recognizing individual strengths and focusing on recovery. He is creative, flexible, and works closely with organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and Central Alberta Safe Harbour Society and provides services on site to individuals with complex needs. Most recently he schedules time to meet with men and women who live in a “Housing First” program where individuals have very complex needs including mental illness, brain injury, and addictions. The majority of these people have spent years living rough on the streets in Red Deer.
Safe Harbour Society for mental health and addictions appreciate his approach and his willingness to work outside the box. he provides immediate consultation and acts as a resource for very difficult situations.
Dr. Costigan remains on the cutting edge of his profession. He investigates and utilizes new approaches and integrates psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery styles into his practice. Further he is an excellent individual and systems advocate.
This award is to honour those representatives in the media who have made outstanding contributions to the coverage of mental health issues.
The Toronto Star (Edited by Adam Butteridge)
The first ever five week Mental Health Special Report ran in The Toronto Star during the month of May, 2009. The editor of the Series is Adam Butteridge. The primary reason for the series was to reduce stigma and create greater awareness of the on many diverse issues surrounding Mental Illness. A diversity of the subject matter and content related to issues of mental health and illness was covered. The series ran over five Fridays in May and the whole Healthy Living section was devoted to the series on those days. This was the first mental health series for the Toronto Star.
The series contributed to breaking down the myths and stigma surrounding mental illness. Consumers played an integral part in many of the articles that were written, either as a resource or an interviewee. Having a mainstream media centre like the Toronto Star undertaking such a series helps to weaken the taboos around mental illness.
Because of the success of this initial series, the Toronto Star is planning to integrate this series in their annual editorial calendar – meaning that a mental health series will now be undertaken each year.
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, especially if they have collaborated within CMHA or with other agencies.
Marion Quigley has dedicated her life to serving individuals and their families in the mental health system. She originally started working with the children’s mental health system prior to her 16 years of service with CMHA Sudbury/Manitoulin Branch.
As CEO, Marion’s exceptional leadership skills have been proven by the growth of the agency in order to provide much needed service to our community. Her leadership has been beneficial, not only in the Sudbury Manitoulin community, but also the Northeast region where she has brought credibility to our agency and promoted the culture of how we provide services with our recovery based values and beliefs. She has provided the support and dedication to transforming change in thinking of the agency and staff, the services we provide, and the partners that we work with in our community, district and region through her visionary approach.
Marion is a strong team member and goes above and beyond in her dedication to people. She has provided support to clients, family members, and to staff of the agency. Her ability to build the capacity of future leaders will provide the momentum to continue the much needed work that is to be done.
Marion works hard at government levels in the pursuit of a mentally healthy society. She has been instrumental in organizing, sharing, and chairing several planning tables such as the CEO Roundtable for the Northeast LHIN and the addiction and mental health providers in Sudbury. She has worked to enhance communication and organize processes to aid in the fight against stigma, homelessness initiatives, increase the court outreach services, provide post-partum depression services and knowledge transfer, housing and mental health research.
The Edward J. Pennington Innovation Award
This award was created in late 2003 to celebrate innovative programs at the local, regional, or national level of CMHA. It recognizes significant community development, mental health promotion.
Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health
Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health, is a program designed to help people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety that may arise from stress or other life circumstances. It is led by CMHA BC Division and funded by the BC Ministry of Health Services. The program objectives include improving the emotional well-being and quality of life for persons living with chronic disease and/or chronic pain, improving compliance with self-care activities, preventing further deterioration in health and ultimately reducing the use of hospital and emergency services. The guided self-help program teaches skills to overcome unhelpful thinking, reduced activities, low socialization and sleep problems as well as strategies for problem solving through the help of a Bounce Back community coach, access to whom requires a doctor’s referral.
The program is designed to support up to 7,500 individuals a year through the coaching component and over 20,000 additional individuals through the distribution of the DVD: Living Life to the Full. Every aspect of the program fully conforms to CMHA mission, vision, and values.
Bounce Back guided self-help is designed to be a short term intervention that empowers individuals to acquire and practice new skills that are outlined in a series of workbooks. The coach’s role is to encourage patients to use the materials, to offer guidance on which workbooks may be of most help, to help tackle obstacles, to assist in patient plans for putting what they are learning into practice and to review progress and reinforce practice.
The program incorporates consumer involvement and empowerment by including participants as experts on the advisory committee, having participants be involved in their own advisory committee, having participants involved with the broader primary health program in the Patient as Partner program and by recruiting staff based on their skills and direct experiences.
The Mental Health in the Workplace Award
This award is presented to a person or organization that has made mental health promotion a priority and promoted cooperation between any organization from the private, public and voluntary sector, unions or employee associations, or a combination of an employer and union/employee associations working together.
Lissa Aubin has been an employee of the CMHA Sudbury branch for the past 4 years and is notorious for her warm greetings, kind heart and infectious excitement for work and life.
Lissa plays an active role in promoting mental and physical health in the workplace through her involvement on the agency Wellness Committee. Her playful competitive attitude is an inspiration for staff to participate in walking challenges, relaxation exercises and education promotion, She also participates on the Heart Health Advisory Committee which promotes the creation of healthy communities in Sudbury by focusing on healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco use reduction and stress.
Lissa was nominated not only for her formal commitments, but also for the positive disposition she carries with her into the work place each and every day. She is always mindful of her co-workers needs and is the first person to offer support and assistance. She is always inclusive in her approach and everyone is always welcome and invited to outings she plans. Lissa is a person you truly look forward to seeing each day and promotes an agency culture that one wants to be a part of.
The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award
This award was created to commend one hard-working volunteer who has given considerable time and effort to many different services provided by the CMHA, and has had a positive impact across Canada.
Craig Johnson is an extremely valuable asset to the Canadian Mental Health Suicide Services program. He began with the Intervention Program and also volunteered with the Suicide Services Education program in the schools. In 2005, Craig took additional volunteer training in the areas of peer support and group facilitation with the Suicide Services Bereavement program and has acted several times in their 8 week groups. He has been a co-facilitator of the Drop In Group which meets monthly and acts as peer support for individuals who have been affected by a suicide. Craig volunteered as a research participant for a formal evaluation of the program which was carried out by the University of Calgary.
Craig has acted as media spokesperson on several occasions, both on tv and in articles in Balance Magazine and the Calgary Herald. He advocates for survivors by writing letters to the editor and formal letters to organizations that need education and awareness. He was chair of the committee organizing the first annual Survivors of Suicide Day held in Calgary – this international event was the first of its kind in Canada to connect with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Craig has represented our agency well since 1996 and reflects CMHA mission and vision.
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.
Jane Burpee has done a One in Five theatrical presentation for CMHA groups on many occasions and has facilitated over 300 Hearing Voices That are Distressing workshops. Previous to her ten years with the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, she worked for 20 years as an occupational therapist at Selkirk Mental Health Centre. She does presentations on schizophrenia psychosis and recovery and is often accompanied by someone with lived experience, invaluable for the audience.
Jane is powerful in getting consumers to the forefront with her Theatre group for young people affected by mental illness. In the Spring of 2009 MSS Reasons for Hope newsletter, Jane states that working with the drama group has been a gift. Friendship and trust have developed and many risks taken to overcome obstacles. Jane also co-facilitates the unique “Name That Feeling” group – a program for children 7 and up who have a family member with a mental illness. Her hope for these children is that they will be richer in knowledge and understanding about mental illness and be able to enjoy their childhood to the fullest.
Jane’s tireless enthusiasm encourages all that she comes across and we are pleased to present her with the Consumer Promotion and Inclusion Award.
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 CMHA.
Loise Forest has been an active member of NCAC as vice-chair, chair and past chair and the CMHA National Board of Directors and its committees, including Proact. Her accomplishments during this time are numerous and she has been instrumental in bringing national representation to the NCAC and in promoting and ensuring active and meaningful involvement of consumers within all levels of the CMHA family.
Loise is a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Service System Committee and was instrumental in developing and promoting the Building a Case for Peer Support. Loise was also instrumental in successfully organizing the consumer committee of the Mental Health Commission and ensuring that the voice of consumers is heard at all levels.
Loise is a member and past board member of the National Network for Mental Health and the Canadian Coalition of Alternative Mental Health Resources. She is the author of many articles, including “Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health Services”, and is a published poet. She was recognized as a Face Mental Illness spokesperson and was able to share her experiences a proof that people with mental illnesses live productive and fulfilling lives. She has shown tremendous courage in her journey by sharing her experience and working to promote the voice and participation of consumers while facing her own health concerns.
Loise has been a guiding light and inspiration to many Canadians and is highly respected by the consumer community, government and mental health and addictions communities on a local, provincial and national level.