HEADS UP! Community Mental Health Summit – November 2020

Heads Up! Community Mental Health Summit - Fresh Outlook Foundation

Session 1 - Mobilizing Systemic Change for Better Mental Health Care

Join experts from all sectors and interests as they share insights and ideas about how we can all collaborate in the move toward an effective, practical, affordable, and compassionate upstream mental health care system.

Topics and Speakers:

HELLO I WANT TO DIE PLEASE FIX ME: A Story of Courage & Discovery with Compelling Arguments for Sweeping Change (Anna Mehler Paperny, Acclaimed Journalist/Bestselling Author)

UPSTREAM MENTAL HEALTH: The Wave of the Future (Trevor Hancock, MD, Hon FFPH, Public Health/Social Policy Scholar & Tyler Norris, MDiv, Well Being Institute)

RETURN TO RESILIENCE: Health Promotion & Indigenous Peoples (Margo Greenwood, PhD, National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health)

'A PATHWAY TO HOPE' IN BC: A Good Strategy Made Better with Lessons Learned from COVID-19 (Neilane Mayhew, Deputy Minister, BC Ministry of Mental Health & Addiction)

PANEL DISCUSSION: Moving from Ideas to Action Together (All speakers)

Speaker Presentation Slides

Trevor Hancock

Tyler Norris

Margo Greenwood

Neilane Mayhew


Related Podcast: MENTAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS: Downstream Losses vs Upstream Wins


Session 2 - Exploring Traditional & Emerging Models of Prevention & Care

Meet mental health researchers and professionals as they talk about traditional care, emerging models of diagnosis and treatment, and the pioneering ways we can help heal ourselves during difficult times. You'll also learn how to discover and use your own unique mental health superpowers!

Topics and Speakers:

CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH: The Unquestionable Link to Community Resilience (Vanessa Lapointe, R.Psych, Renowned Educator, Consultant, Speaker, Best-selling Author)

APPLIED POSITIVE NEUROSCIENCE: Simple Steps to Reverse the Downward Spirals of Anxiety & Depression (Alex Korb, PhD, UCLA Neuroscientist, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Coach)

TRENDS IN THE DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT OF MENTAL ILLNESSES: The Power of Big Data & Machine Learning (Andy Greenshaw, PhD, FRSA, University of Alberta)

TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY MEDICINE: The Best of Both Worlds for Indigenous Healing (Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, Coyote Institute) REBUILDING BC: COVID as a Trigger for Sustainability & Workplace Mental Health (Arden Henley, Green Technology Education Centre)

FROM STEREOTYPES TO SUPERHEROES: Harnessing Your Mental Health Superpowers (Sharon Blady, PhD, Speak Up Mental Health Advocates/Former Manitoba Minister of Health)

PANEL DISCUSSION: Advancing Traditional & Emerging Models of Prevention & Care (All speakers)

Speaker Presentation Slides

Vanessa Lapointe

Alex Korb

Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Arden Henley

Sharon Blady


Related Podcast: e-MENTAL HEALTH: Vast and Profound Opportunities for Better Care


Session 3 - Exploring Integrated Solutions for Substance Use & Homelessness

Join researchers, public health experts, people with lived experience, and other key stakeholders as they explore integrated solutions for reducing the substance use and homelessness faced by many communities and their most vulnerable populations.

Topics and Speakers:

STIGMA: The Elephant in Every Room (Stephanie Knaak, PhD, Mental Health Commission of Canada)

COMPLICATED LINKS: Traumatic Brain Injury, Substance Use & Homelessness (Jacob Stubbs BKin, UBC Department of Psychiatry)

STORIES BEHIND THE STATISTICS: Successful Models of Care for Substance Use (Guy Felicella, Recovery Advocate to BC Centre of Sustance Abuse; Mark Tyndall, MD, ScD, PhD, Epidemiologist/Public Health Expert; Tom Smithwick, BA, LLB, QC, Freedom's Door Addiction Recovery Program for Men)

HOUSING FOR ALL: Pioneering a Coordinated & Accessible System of Care (Wendy Stevens, Peer Operations Coordinator, Vancouver Coastal Health; John Graham PhD, UBCO School of Social Work)PANEL DISCUSSION: Collaborating to Connect All Pieces of the Integration Model (All speakers)

Speaker Presentation Slides

Stephanie Knaak

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Summit Rationale

WHY CHANGE? Because numbers don't lie.

Not surprisingly, research shows that our communities are increasingly impacted by mental health issues and their effects on citizens where they live, work, learn, and/or play. In fact, the statistics are staggering and will become worse as pandemic impacts become clear.


At least half of Canadians over 40 have experienced or will develop a mental illness. About 800,000 British Columbians currently struggle with mental health challenges or addictions. And more than 85,000 children and youth in British Columbia have been diagnosed with mental disorders, with only one third of them getting the treatment they need.

It’s hard to imagine, but one in five children and youth in BC need mental health or substance use care. Picture that 20 percent this way: Up to five children in every BC classroom struggles with mental health challenges – everything from abuse-caused anxiety to the “bad” behaviour caused by ADHA, autism, and other neuro-developmental difficulties. Especially now, with COVID-related constraints, teachers struggle to meet the educational needs of these students, while parents battle for timely diagnoses, treatment, and systemic change to help prevent catastrophic outcomes such as poverty, unemployment, addiction, homelessness, and suicide.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reports that, if nothing changes to address this and other mental health crises, there will be almost nine million people living with mental illness by 2040. This represents a 31 percent increase from 2011, while the total Canadian population will only grow by 26 percent over that time.


And what about the numbers from an economic perspective? The financial burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at more than $55 billion per year. In any given week, at least 500,000 Canadians are unable to work because of mental health challenges. Add to that the number of people now who have been incapacitated because of COVID-19. Astonishingly, MHCC estimates that the cost of mental illness will grow more than six times over the next thirty years to a whopping $306 billion.

In short, the challenges are real and systemic change is needed now.


WHO? Change is a Shared Responsibility

As outlined by MHCC in its strategy for Changing Direction. Changing Lives., transformation “requires government at all levels, business, labour, civil society, health care leaders, and individual citizens to work together.” At the Fresh Outlook Foundation, we couldn’t agree more!


WHAT? Conversations Are Key

In keeping with the MHCC recommendation that we make change by improving knowledge, mobilizing leadership, and fostering collaboration at all levels, the Fresh Outlook Foundation (FOF) hosted the first in an ongoing series of gatherings called the HEADS UP! Community Mental Health Summit.

With a proven track record of designing and delivering highly acclaimed events that inspire community conversations for sustainable change, FOF used  groundbreaking virtual event planning, techniques, and tools to inform and inspire event strategy, agenda development, and robust participant engagement opportunities.

With the support of granting organizations, event sponsors, donors, and promotional partners, the 2020 Summit gathered people from all sectors, ages, cultures, abilities, and genders to engage in vital conversations about mental health challenges, successes, and opportunities for individuals, families, workplaces, and communities.

This brand of community conversation is not only the “right thing to do,” it also inspires the most robust solutions as people from all walks of life bring their unique insights, ideas, passions, personalities, and influences to the table.


HOW? Focus on ‘Upstream’ Approaches

Too often, our response to high levels of need and demand is to call for more mental health services. Clearly there is a need for these ‘downstream’ services and support, and clearly the mental health and addictions sector has been under-funded in the health care system for decades.

But we seldom pay enough attention to the ‘upstream’ part of the equation:

  • Why are so many people needing mental health and addiction services in the first place?
  • What is happening in our communities and the wider society that may be contributing to the problem?
  • What can we achieve by going upstream to reduce the burden of mental health and addiction problems, and thus reduce the demand on services?
  • How do we create more mentally healthy communities?

At the Summit, we first looked at the barriers to upstream approaches we face as a society, and what we might do to reduce the burden of mental health and addiction problems and create more mentally healthy communities.

Then, we looked at better ways to meet the needs of those with mental health and addiction problems though the healthcare and social services systems.


OUTCOMES? Moving Forward Together

For the 2020 Summit, the most important event outcomes were challenges revealed, successes shared, and opportunities for collaboration identified. Another short-term objective was to foster connection between and among all sectors, ages, cultures, abilities, and genders. Longer-term goals are to inform and inspire collaboration that expedites positive change while preventing the duplication of invaluable human and financial resources.

Lessons learned, relationships built, and partnerships formed before, during, and after the 2020 event will inform and inspire program development for future Summits.


DONATIONS... it's about support!

If you are an individual, business, or organization who would like to support future Community Mental Health Summits with a monetary donation, please click on the Donate button below. As a registered charity, we can supply tax receipts for donations. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Help us advance the conversation about mental health challenges, successes, and opportunities at the individual, family, workplace, and community scales.


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