Care CAMH: Five Years at CAMH: Reflections

Published on March 18th, 2015 | from CAMH

Five Years at CAMH: Reflections

By Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO at CAMH

I had the honour of speaking at the CAMH Service Awards Reception last week, celebrating staff members who have served at CAMH for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Over 3,465 years of service were recognized this year! During these events, it’s been my habit to mingle amongst the guests and ask a specific question: “What has kept you at CAMH for all this time?”

This year was different. I was proud to receive my five-year service pin, giving me a chance to reflect on the question I had asked so many others. It seemed only fair to share my own thoughts and feelings on why working with the dedicated staff at CAMH is so amazing. Those of us who work at CAMH come for many different reasons, but the reasons we stay are the same – our patients, our team and our cause. 

Walking up Ossington recently, a gentleman stopped me and said “Did you hear that I’m in the community now?” I must have looked a little confused, and he reminded me that we had met twice at our CAMH Client Picnic.  On those occasions, he had had explained that he was a patient at CAMH, describing his recovery journey to me in great detail.  He had expressed gratitude for the care and support that he was receiving from CAMH staff. This is one of the many stories from our patients and families that give me energy and inspiration each day.

Our team at CAMH is over 3,000 strong, and leadership is blossoming in all areas of the organization. We’re working very hard to realize CAMH’s Vision of Transforming Lives and to achieve the goals of our strategic plan, Vision2020. I love the fact that CAMH employees and volunteers take the time to tell me about their work experience, give me new insights and offer advice.  For example, on my way to the Awards Reception, a nurse who’s worked here for 30 years told me about bringing her daughter to a CAMH award ceremony a few months ago. She wanted her daughter to see what can be achieved when you are dedicated to work that you love.

Momentum is building towards a real movement in mental health care, and CAMH has an important role in driving that change.  We can point to many system partnerships that have improved care and supports for our patients. Our research is advancing the understanding of mental illness. We are educating students in many fields: nursing, social work, psychology, psychiatry, law and others.  In all three spheres, our work is having the effect of creating mental health advocates and advancing the cause of mental health.

Last Wednesday the sun was shining and a group of very special people were celebrating their commitment to a great organization.  Our patients, our team and our cause – that’s why I’m at CAMH. There’s no place I’d rather be!


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