Published on December 8th, 2017 | from CAMH

Canadians Making a Difference for Mental Health

By Dr. Catherine Zahn, President & CEO, CAMH

This year, CAMH set out on a mission to celebrate Canadians from all walks of life who are building a movement for better mental health care.

The result was our 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health initiative.

Since I followed the media coverage that the CAMH Difference Makers received nation-wide (for example, here, here and here), it was an honour to meet and celebrate the recipients in person at  regional events to recognize their contributions.

Celebrating Difference Makers from British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon in Vancouver

I attended the first celebration in Vancouver and the final one in Toronto. At both, the atmosphere was electric. There was an enormous willingness to pay tribute to recovery and to salute the work of fellow honourees. Despite the fact that few of the recipients knew each other at the outset, all of the Difference Makers were met with cheers and applause. They had invited family, friends and supporters to celebrate their achievement and the enthusiasm was contagious!

In Toronto, Ontario Difference Maker Asante Haughton shared a poem he wrote about his experience with mental illness titled ‘I Tried’.

This program reminded me about the power of partnerships in the mental health sector. When we come together, we can accomplish so much beyond what we do as individual care providers, educators, researchers and advocates. We can also be connectors, facilitators, bridge builders – and more.

CAMH’s sincere appreciation goes to the National Committee chaired by Sandi and Jim Treliving, our National Nominations Co-Chairs Louise Bradley, Luc Bachand and Sheldon Kennedy, as well as to all of our National Committee Members for helping ensure that this initiative was a success.

We also want to thank our presenting partner Morneau Shepell, our media partner the Globe and Mail, our community partners Boston Pizza and the Harry and Shirley Young Family Foundation.

Finally, a special thank you goes to the CAMH Foundation and the 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health project team.

Visit to find out why people in your community are giving us new reasons for hope. We look forward to continuing a national conversation on mental health in 2018 inspired by our Difference Makers!

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