Vancouver, B.C. — The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is welcoming more than 350 mental health leaders from around the world today to share promising practices and innovative research in mental health during a unique five-day knowledge exchange in Vancouver, entitled “Accelerating Change Toward Mental Health, Well-Being and Inclusion”.

Leaders from eight countries, including Australia, Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden and the United States, will collaborate and learn from each other at the combined International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) Leadership Exchange. The event runs from September 21-25.

“Hosting the IIMHL is a great honour for Canada and for the Commission,” said MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley. “It’s incredibly gratifying to help international leaders come together and work towards a common goal of improving mental health and disability outcomes for people across Canada and around the world.”

IIMHL 2015 in Vancouver marks the second time Canada has had the privilege of hosting this remarkable knowledge-exchange event. Canada last hosted the IIMHL in 2007, when the Government of Canada launched the MHCC.  Since then, the Commission has earned international acclaim for many ground-breaking programs and initiatives, such as launching Canada’s first mental health strategy — Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada — in 2012.

In addition, the MHCC launched the world’s first National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and the At Home/ Chez Soi research project, which proved that a housing-first approach is a sound investment and works rapidly to end homelessness for people experiencing mental illness.

Hosting the event for the second time in eight years comes shortly after the Commission celebrated another significant milestone — the Government of Canada’s recent decision to extend the Commission’s mandate for an additional 10 years, beginning in 2017.

The event will also feature the Honourable Michael Wilson’s first major public appearance in his new role as MHCC Chair. In addition to a very long track record of public service as a former Ambassador to the United States and federal cabinet minister, Mr. Wilson has a deep personal commitment to improving care and services for those with lived experience of mental illness. Mr. Wilson will deliver the opening address at the IIMHL/IIDL combined Leadership Exchange in Vancouver on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10:45 a.m.

“This IIMHL event provides an important opportunity for Canada and the Commission to build on momentum from the innovative mental health initiatives it has undertaken over the past several years and continue to contribute to mental health knowledge and practice on a global scale” Mr. Wilson said.

IIMHL 2015 consists of two parts:

  • A series of 30 Leadership Matches (small group meetings) across Canada and the U.S. from September 21-22, 2015, including several hosted by the MHCC and partners. In total, 18 of these matches will be take place in Canada, including 13 in the Vancouver area.
  • A combined Leadership Exchange from September 23-25, 2015 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver, B.C, focusing on important leadership themes, including leading for the future, innovation and system transformation.

IIMHL 2015 is part of a larger schedule of knowledge-exchange events being hosted by the Commission in BC this month. MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley is also organizing the Whistler Workshop from September 27-29 for some 40 key mental health decision-makers and emerging leaders from around the world to build on discussions from IIHML. Prior to IIMHL, the Commission organized the Mental Health First Aid International Summit to discuss ways of accelerating this important movement.

Additional information about IIMHL 2015 is available at mentalhealthcommission.ca/iimhl.

Follow the event on Twitter at: #IIMHL2015 and @MHCC_


ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA

Guided by Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health – at home, work, and school, as well as with the media and healthcare providers – from coast to coast to coast. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the Commission is Canada’s coordinating agent, bringing together the best and most influential minds in the mental health community. The MHCC is collaborating with hundreds of partners towards a mental health system that is inclusive, adaptable, and supports Canadians living with mental health problems and mental illnesses in their recovery journey. Together we accelerate change needed to transform Canada’s mental health system and the wellbeing of all.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca

The International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) is a unique international collaborative that focuses on improving mental health and addictions services. IIMHL is a collaboration of eight countries: Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, USA and Sweden. IIMHL organizes systems for international innovation sharing, networking and problem solving across countries and agencies. The overall aim is to provide better outcomes for people who use mental health and addiction services and their families.

The IIDL is the sister organization of IIMHL and is focused on disability services. It is a collaboration of four countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland.

For more information and to pre-arrange interviews, please contact:

Lindsey Scully
Director and Senior Writer
ENsight Canada
(613) 790-4393