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To our membership:

Thank you to those who responded to our Rallying the Troops article. Your support means the world. Please keep spreading the word to your networks that the NNMH needs their feedback and support. Also, please encourage people to join the NNMH at www.nnmh.ca. The cost to individuals, who are mental health consumer/survivors is FREE, to supporting members, who are not mental health consumer/survivors the cost is $10.00/annum, and for organizations the cost is $50.00/annum.

As you know, the NNMH Board of Directors hired me as a consultant until the end of March to assist the board with fulfilling a couple of items from the NNMH’s strategic plan: 1. Strengthening the board, and 2. Revitalizing and growing the membership. Please note that you may contact me at anytime at [email protected] if you have any questions at all or if you would like to help us out with networking with consumers in your locales.

I want to let you know that the Executive of the NNMH Board of Directors is: Jean Beckett, President; April Maksymchuk, Vice-President, Brian Easton, Secretary, and Ellen Cohen is the Treasurer. Preetha Stephen is a member-at-large on the board. Jean Beckett, President can be reached at [email protected]

The NNMH Board of Directors is meeting every two weeks with a Fundraising Committee meeting held in the alternate weeks of the month.

We are working hard towards meeting the feedback from our membership, which is included in our strategic plan link. Your feedback in the strategic plan is what we are basing any proposals we may apply for.

Funding Avenues/Fundraising Committee

As you may or may not know, securing project or core funding in today’s climate is very difficult. The NNMH has submitted an application for funding to Human Resources Skills Development Canada; Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component Health for direct grants for the Community Inclusion Initiative to retain our core funding to keep our office going and to enable us to work on building our membership and board for the next two years.

The HRSDC is moving towards a competitive funding model so we had to apply for a maximum of 65% of funding received in 2012-2013 for fiscal year 2013-2014 and a maximum of 35% of funding received in 2012-2013 in 2014-2015.

We will also be submitting a proposal to the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component Transition Support Measures to apply directly for two year funding to facilitate the transition to meet the requirements of a transformed SDPP-D (competitive model mentioned above).

We have set up a fundraising committee to look for other grants: corporations, community, and private including Bell, Canada Post, Fedex etc.

Advocacy

We were approached by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada to join a teleconference to discuss working in collaboration to draft a letter to the Federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, regarding concerns around proposed Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) legislation to be tabled sometime at the end of January or the first of February.

The SSC across Canada wants to have the opportunity to educate Canadians and political decision makers on the minute number of people with mental issues who are deemed NCRMD and the resources they require to reach the highest level of good mental health and wellbeing for their own safety and safety of others.

The NNMH will sign the letter in support of this effort. It is extremely important that the government and the public are educated on the rare instances of violence among our population. It is more likely that violent acts will happen to us.

Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH)

I will be attending the next CAMIMH meeting in Ottawa in mid-February. The NNMH is a founding member of CAMIMH which was formed in 1998 and is a volunteer run organization that provides mental health education to the public.

CAMIMH is a non-profit organization comprised of health care providers as well as organizations which represent individuals with lived experience of mental illness with the fundamental objective of engaging Canadians in a national conversation about mental illness.

Canadian Council on Disabilities

The NNMH has a representative on the CCD, which is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. Their priorities include: Disability-related supports, Poverty alleviation, increased employment for persons with disabilities, Promotion of human rights, Ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Technology developed according to the principles of universal design, Air, rail, bus and marine transport that are accessible to persons with all types of disabilities. CCD seeks to achieve these priorities through law reform, litigation, public education and dialogue with key decision-makers.

As I said before I have been around in the mental health “biz” for the past 24 years and I remember in the beginning that many of our peers did not want to be associated with the term disabled or disability and I totally understood this. Years later we have found that we have quite a bit in common with the community, and it is very common that depression or other mental health issues go hand-in-hand with the physical challenges.

As long as we retain our uniqueness and are not subsumed by another organization I am okay with this – my opinion – I wanted to let you know a little history on this subject if you aren’t already aware of it.

Interrelate

An International Coalition of National Consumer/User Organizations was launched at the IIMHL (International Initiative on MH Leadership) meeting in St. Catharines, Canada in August, 2007. Representatives from 7 countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US, Ireland, Scotland, and England) met in St. Catharines as part of a preconference IIMHL meeting. The gathering found many common values and in connecting decided to follow up with teleconferences to begin forming an international coalition. The NNMH has a representative on this body.

Our Website

We are in the process of cleaning up our website, which is much needed – getting outdated information off, etc. Please keep checking in for changes.

The last word…

Consumer/Survivor/Ex-Patient/User Movement

We are all part of a bigger thing – a consumer movement. It is my hope that although we may have differences in our beliefs and ways of doing things that we can agree to protect the one national organization that we have. I have been absolutely thrilled to see consumer/survivor initiatives, advocacy groups, peer run efforts and the like spring up across our country over the past two decades.

As in any movement, we have people who are perceived as radical and others perceived as moderates. We respect this and hope that we have everyone’s support in being part of preserving the NNMH – the only organization of its kind in Canada. It’s really the only national organization that we can lay claim to.

Often, and sadly, we are asked to conform to funders’ priorities as opposed to our own because the bottom line is we need the bucks to get this work done. We still have our dignity and any work we are able to do is for the good of all – no matter the route we have to take to get there.

Please provide your feedback via Facebook, Twitter or email. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please let us know. We’re only as good as our membership.

Keep reaching out to us and each other.

Julie

Julie L. Flatt
National Network for Mental Health

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