Friday, May 29, 2009

Some of my favorite people!

I ran 3 miles today (448) in Toronto. It was late afternoon, nice and sunny but a little too warm and humid for my liking. I also felt tired from traveling and a long day of meetings. I'm in Toronto this weekend for the Mental Health Commission of Canada annual meeting. I am a member of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Advisory Committee to the MHCC. I am very lucky to be on a committee made up of absolutely wonderful people who are so incredibly smart, kind, and creative. The pictures are of us hanging out after the first day of meetings (which finished at 9:30PM). They are a really fun group and we never have a shortage of laughter between us all.

The annual MHCC meeting is a very intense and productive meeting which brings together members of the different advisory committees and the Board of Directors of the Commission. Our committee is working on two projects, the ethical framework project that I am the lead on and an innovative project on cultural safety. I feel that we are undertaking very important work not only generated from our committee but also from the MHCC in general.

Mental illness and addictions are prevalent in our society but remain stigmatized health problems that prohibit many who suffer from them from seeking the care they need. I am optimistic that the MHCC will mobilize change in our country to improve patient centered care, reduce stigma and create systemic changes that will center around the experience and needs of individuals living with a mental illness or addiction.  The members of the commission, (governing body, staff and advisory committees) are people who are incredibly passionate and committed to improving the lives of those individuals and families living with a mental illness. I hope the journey that we are taking over the next decade will leave a legacy that transforms understandings of what it is like to live with a mental illness, and determines what we need to do within our society to better support individuals living with a mental illness, including de-stigmatizing mental illness and addiction. 

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