Remarks given by

Louise Bradley, President and CEO
Mental Health Commission of Canada

at the  

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada


North Western Ontario Education Committee Conference

‘Recovery: You, Me, Everyone – It Takes A Community’

Thunder Bay, Ontario
June 21, 2016



  • Good morning, everyone.I want to add my words of welcome to delegates.And my praise for being a part of this critically important community of mental health professionals and advocates.
  • I am delighted to be here, surrounded by like-minded individuals.People who share my commitment to transforming Canadians’ attitudes and behaviours around mental health issues and to improving mental health services and supports.
  • That is certainly what we’ll be doing today as we launch the PSR Canada Rehabilitation and Recovery Registry and the Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Practitioner program.
  • I was asked to bring you up to date on recent activities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada.One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the ongoing partnerships we are building with strong, committed leaders and organizations – this includes Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada. We we are proud to work with you to advance our shared commitment to promote recovery approaches and improve mental health services and supports.
  • I particularly want to salute PSR’s President, Vicky Huehn.Vicky has long been a major contributor to the work of the MHCC as an advisory committee member.She, along with other PSR Canada members, has worked closely with us to develop and implement our Recovery Initiative.


Recovery Initiative

  • Comme vous êtes nombreux à le savoir très bien, des personnes ayant un vécu de maladie mentale sont des championnes du rétablissement depuis de nombreuses années. Dans le processus du rétablissement, une personne doit activement faire des choix et prendre des décisions lui permettant de gérer sa santé et son bien-être psychologiques.
  • Le rétablissement est centré sur l'espoir, la responsabilisation et le respect des personnes ayant des problèmes de santé mentale ou une maladie mentale puisque ce sont elles qui sont les mieux placées pour décider de leur avenir.
  • Promoting and implementing a recovery-oriented mental health system is a central tenet of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada. The Strategy calls for the implementation of a range of recovery-oriented initiatives.
  • Last year, we made major inroads with the release of comprehensive Guidelines for Recovery-oriented Practice. The Guidelines build a common understanding, shared language, and knowledge of recovery policies, programs and practices.They provide a tool to accelerate the recovery movement from policy to practice.
  • We also initiated the Recovery Declaration, an instrument to promote broad endorsement of a recovery orientation by stakeholders across the mental health system. The Declaration has been signed by over 800 individuals and almost 100 organizations.
  • And we’ve continued the development of the online Recovery Inventory, which provides resources related to recovery policies, programs and practices from across the country. To date, more than 1,300 relevant documents have been made available.
  • However, one of the challenges I have heard time and again when it comes to recovery-oriented practice is how to shift recovery from a theoretical approach to one that is embedded in our values, skills and practice.
  • Je suis donc très heureuse que nous puissions passer à cette étape grâce à l'annonce que nous faisons aujourd'hui. Le programme d'agrément des praticiens en réadaptation psychosociale offert par Réadaptation psychosociale (RPS) Canada constitue un grand pas en avant. Il permettra de reconnaître les compétences et les aptitudes en matière de rétablissement acquises par les praticiens et d'améliorer également leur capacité à offrir des services axés sur le rétablissement.
  • Cette ressource s'appuie sur les longs états de service de RPS Canada comme chef de file dans ce domaine. Elle permettra aux praticiens de profiter de la réputation et des connaissances de cet organisme. Elle aidera aussi tous ceux qui souhaitent travailler dans une culture accordant une place de choix à l'apprentissage continu et à l'amélioration des services.
  • The MHCC is proud of PSR Canada for developing this valuable tool.


MHCC Update

  • Recovery is just one area of focus for the MHCC.And only one piece of good news about the Commission that I have to share with you.
  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada is in a very exciting place these days, having been renewed for another 10 years, as announced in last year’s Budget.
  • We are still awaiting a new mandate and official funding.La décision du gouvernement témoigne de sa confiance dans la capacité de la Commission d'améliorer la vie des Canadiens confrontés directement et indirectement à des défis en matière de santé mentale. Elle s'appuie sur de nombreux programmes et initiatives ayant fait époque que nous avons mis en œuvre depuis notre création en 2007. 
  • Parmi ces initiatives, mentionnons Changer les orientations, changer des vies, la première Stratégie en matière de santé mentale pour le Canada et la première Norme nationale du Canada sur la santé et la sécurité psychologiques en milieu de travail.
  • Nous entrons dans une ère prometteuse parce que de multiples ministères fédéraux se sont vu enjoint par le gouvernement de faire de la santé mentale des Canadiens une priorité, une première canadienne. Il est question de santé mentale dans les lettres de mandat de cinq ministres.
  • Tout indique également que le gouvernement prend la question de la santé mentale au sérieux. À titre d'exemple, le premier ministre s'est engagé à ce que la Norme soit mise en œuvre dans tous les milieux de travail fédéraux.
  • We are enthusiastic about these enhanced opportunities, which will enable the MHCC to serve as a central point for collaboration and as a catalyst for change on mental health issues government-wide.
  • The key word being ‘collaboration.’As your theme for this conference aptly notes, it takes “You, Me and Everyone – It Takes A Community” to make a difference in Canadians’ mental health.
  • We get that at the MHCC.We understand that our role is to conduct crucial research to inform sound policy making and program development. And to bring together leaders and organizations from across the country to put this knowledge to work to accelerate change.
  • of our major initiatives depend on productive partnerships with people like you. 
  • For example, a major development over the past year was the creation of a youth-focused version of Canada’s Mental Health Strategy.Because empowering and collaborating with youth is essential to improving our mental health care system.
  • The ‘Youth Perspective’ is an adapted version of Changing Directions, Changing Lives written by MHCC Youth Council members – one of the Commission’s advisory groups.The document draws on their personal experiences to make the Strategy relevant and accessible to other young people.
  • A particular concern of Youth Council members is the issue of emerging adults – young Canadians caught in the extended transition period between adolescence and adulthood.People whose unique service needs have been largely unmet.
  • Last November, MHCC hosted a Consensus Conference on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults.This jury-based conference brought together emerging adults, families, service providers, policy makers and experts from across the nation to develop recommendations for improvements to services for this cohort.
  • The national youth anti-stigma campaign, HEADSTRONG/ La Tête Haute, is another tribute to the power of partnerships. Under this initiative, the Commission acts as a coordinating agent, bringing together community organizations, schools, and youth to educate young people about mental wellness.
  • HEADSTRONG delivered 27 regional summits and three provincial summits by the end of the 2015 school year.The summits involved more than 4,000 students from over 400 high schools.These events created youth champions in seven provinces and the North West Territories, who then returned to their own schools with the knowledge, passion and plan to engage entire school populations.It’s conservatively estimated that the cascading reach of HEADSTRONG means more than 180,000 students have felt the positive impact of this project.
  • The MHCC also has completed two years of extensive evaluative research into a methodology to reduce stigma and increase resilience in workplaces. I’ve already mentioned our primary initiative in advancing this goal, the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
  • The Standard was spearheaded by the Commission in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec. It helps employers of all sizes and sectors promote good mental health and prevent psychological harm, due to workplace factors.
  • Early results from a case study following 40 organizations implementing the Standard across Canada are encouraging.An interim report indicates that employers are seeing a decrease in days absent and an increase in employee engagement.
  • Other MHCC accomplishments over the past year include Informing the Future:  Mental Health Indicators for Canada which tell us how well – or poorly – the health system is responding to Canadians’ mental health needs.The indicators reflect mental health across the lifespan. They detail mental health results in different settings, and report on various aspects of services and supports used by people with mental illness.
  • Something else we’re proud of are the mental health programs we’ve developed targeted to both first responders and general civilian workforces. There is widespread interest in The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) and the Working Mind (TWM) programs, respectively.
  • These programs augment Mental Health First Aid training, which we’ve adapted to meet the needs of a cross-section of Canadians. We’ve contextualized the program for populations at high risk, including First Nations, Inuit and seniors.We’re currently working on an adaptation specifically geared to veterans.Mental Health First Aid has been delivered to more than 190,000 Canadians to date.



  • So there is clearly a lot to celebrate.We are making headway on multiple fronts to promote positive mental health for all Canadians. And we’re doing it in collaboration with committed partners who are determined to make a difference. This conference is one great example.
  • We are living in, arguably, the most hopeful time in our history for those living with mental health problems and illnesses.
  • While there’s no time to rest on our laurels, I have high hopes and great expectations of the important discussions taking place here this week. And the positive results of the roll-out of the new PSR Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Practitioner program.
  • I wish everyone engaged in this valuable work every success as you take us the next step forward.Thank you.