Speaking notes


Louise Bradley, President and CEO        

Mental Health Commission of Canada

To address the

17th Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference


‘Growing Ideas’


Kelowna, BC

The Coast Capri Hotel

June 17, 2016




  • Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to say a few welcoming remarks. I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of Westbank First Nation of the Okanagan Nation syilx people.
  • Before I go any further, I’d like to mention the Mental Health Commission of Canada is on a path to reconciliation.
  • This week, I was invited to spend a two days with the BC First Nations Health Authority visiting the community of Esketemc (Esk-etem-eck) and the Nenqayni (Nen-kah-nee) Treatment Centre.
  • The teachings I received there from Elders, Chief Charlene Belleau and community leaders were invaluable. They generously shared stories of resilience, healing and strength and have shifted my understandings of mental health and wellness.I look forward to learning more.
  • Now, I’d also like to take a moment to congratulate conference co-chairs, Dr. Terry Isomura and Dr. David Smith, for putting together an excellent program.
  • Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the work all of you are doing – on the ground in primary health care – to protect and promote the mental wellness of your clients.
  • I think it’s important to briefly reflect on how we have arrived at the place we are today.
  • I was reminded that November marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the first “Shared Care” paper, jointly published by the College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Psychiatric Association.
  • Can you believe it’s nearly two decades since those two organizations began the work of building bridges to the front lines of care provision?
  • Fast forward ten years, and the Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Initiative completed three years of research and knowledge translation; an exemplary legacy of the Primary Care Transition Fund.
  • Then, in 2009, a second Shared Care paper further bolstered our conviction at the Mental Health Commission of Canada that “expanding the role of primary health care in meeting mental health needs” should be enshrined in Changing Directions, Changing Lives: the Mental Health Strategy for Canada.
  • Now, it’s time to breathe life into those recommendations outlined in the Strategy.
  • La promesse d’un nouvel Accord sur la santé entre le gouvernement fédéral et les provinces et territoires, dans lequel la santé mentale figurerait parmi les quatre grandes priorités, recèle des possibilités sans précédent.
  • Nous participons activement aux discussions avec les partenaires concernés et insistons sur l’importance de l’accès aux services de santé mentale, qui constitue à notre avis la pierre angulaire de tout accord fructueux et tourné vers l’avenir.
  • Et les soins primaires y jouent un rôle déterminant.
  • Or, la vision que nous avons de la santé mentale et du bien-être pour tous les habitants du Canada demeurera hors de notre portée, à moins d’unir nos efforts en ce sens.
  • C’est ce qui m’amène ici aujourd’hui. Je souhaite réitérer notre engagement à faire progresser l’accès aux services de santé mentale et vous rendre hommage pour les efforts que vous déployez.
  • It’s been a very busy spring in Ottawa, but when I was presented with the opportunity to be here with you today, I insisted that we clear space in the calendar – and here I am!
  • It was vitally important that I be able to come here to express two simple words: Thank you.
  • You are doing so much good work, we should be shouting from the rooftops.
  • Cette 17e conférence annuelle se déroule sous le thème des « idées en croissance ». Mon souhait le plus cher serait que la notion de soins collaboratifs prenne racine et fleurisse d’un bout à l’autre du pays.
  • Les soins collaboratifs suscitent une réelle transformation de notre attitude face aux questions de santé mentale au Canada. Sur le long chemin vers la parité entre les problèmes de santé mentale et les maladies physiques, je vois l’approche axée sur les soins collaboratifs comme un jalon marquant le progrès accompli.
  • Toutes les personnes réunies ici se trouvent sur la bonne voie, celle de l’innovation.
  • Imagine treating a person for depression without taking into account their underlying heart disease.Understanding co-morbidities is key to unlocking even greater forward strides.
  • I can assure you that the collaborative care approach has a champion in the MHCC.
  • Before I conclude, I want to recognize the tremendous work that is being done by mental health advocates here in Kelowna.The local chapter of the CMHA is amongst the leaders in our country in raising public awareness about mental health issues. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
  • Speaking of leadership, I must also say that you are in for a real treat later this afternoon when Clara Hughes makes her presentation to you. Clara has done as much as anyone in Canada to help break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.We are all in her debt and I want to thank her again for her courage and leadership.
  • I wish you the very best as you work together over the coming days to grow ideas that will be the bedrock of a more flexible, responsive and recovery-oriented system.

Thank you