MHCC and provincial/territorial advisors meet on priority mental health work

On April 12-13, the MHCC’s Provincial and Territorial Advisory Group (PTAG) gathered in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for its bi-annual in-person meeting.

“Convening experts from the provinces and territories helps shape priorities,” explains Ed Mantler, MHCC’s Vice-President of Programs and Priorities.  “We rely on their valuable insights to help inform our work.”

Originally established in 2009, PTAG members served as trusted advisors on the drafting of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Since that time, they have continued to play an important role in the MHCC’s work.

At this particular meeting, the dialogue centred on topics ranging from the importance of recovery-oriented practice to addressing the mental health needs of refugees as they settle into their new communities.

“We were delighted to play host to the first face-to-face gathering of 2016,” says Colleen Simms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Director of Mental Health and Addictions, and the advisory group’s co-chair.

“While our work is very similar throughout the regions, our approaches often differ. We may be working within different regulatory and delivery contexts, for example,” says Simms, who goes on to explain that examining shared priorities within their unique contexts often yields fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.

Two such initiatives were showcased as PTAG members made site visits to crucial community resources as part of a shared learning experience.

The group enjoyed a tour of the Tuckamore Centre (named for a resilient tree found on the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador), which offers specialized supports and treatment for youth with complex mental health issues.

They also paid a visit to Stella’s Circle, a community agency recognized for its innovative and responsive approaches in the fields of affordable housing, and quality mental health and employment programming and services.

“It was a very successful meeting overall,” says Michel Rodrigue, MHCC’s Vice President of Organizational Performance and Public Affairs. “It gives us an opportunity to engage with provincial and territorial mental health leadership on relevant and timely topics.”

The next in-person PTAG meeting will be held in the Fall of 2016.