Dr. Kathleen Thompson – Co-chair Saskatchewan
Dr. Kathleen Thompson, PhD, MSW, RSW, BA (Hons) is the Founder and President of Thompson Policy Consulting Inc. Dr. Thompson consults with individuals and organizations on how to enter the legal cannabis industry, primarily through pursuing licensing for cultivation, processing and dispensing. Dr. Thompson focuses on the development of effective, regulatory-compliant business plans and strategies. Dr. Thompson’s PhD is from the University of Calgary and was funded through a Canada Graduate Scholarship from SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Dr. Thompson has a background in civil society and human rights leadership as well as in creating collaborative public policy initiatives and research partnerships with industry, governments, academia, civil society and the United Nations.
Dr. Kathleen Thompson is not new to the not for profit community, Kathleen plays significant leadership roles with many not for profit organizations; internationally, nationally and, provincially since 2000. As a result of her vast experience Dr. Thompson has had direct access to United Nations (UN) activities through her Directorship role with the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities (IHRAAM). She is on the board of DisAbled Women’s Network Canada (DAWN/RAFH Canada) the only national consumer disability organization representing women and girls with disabilities, where she serves as Treasurer and National Research Committee Chair for DAWN/RAFH, and the President of Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities (SVOPD).
Dr. Walter Wai Tak Chan – Co-Chair Winnipeg
Walter was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Canada since the age of seven. He holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. His PhD dissertation was about leadership practices in the psychiatric consumer and survivor movement in Canada. Walter is a childhood abuse survivor and a current user of psychiatric services, and he learned peer support approaches within the disability movement. Walter would like to practice peer support in mental health and other spheres of life as well. Walter has served on a number of boards and task groups, most recently S.Scope and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. He is a member of the National Network for Mental Health, the Alberta Network for Mental Health, and the West Coast Mental Health Network. In addition, he is active in the environmental movement, notably Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Our Time, and Greenpeace. Walter is learning Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwa) and hopes one day to become conversationally fluent with guidance from Anishinabek elders and teachers.
Anita Levesque – Media and Communications Director and Treasurer
Anita resides in Stoney Creek (Hamilton), Ontario. She is self-employed as a web and graphic designer, since 2005. Anita provides the following services: web design, graphic design, internet marketing, social media marketing and hosting. She is also a photographer, from a hobby to now professional. Anita is taking a diploma program in Psychology/Social Work and another diploma program in Counseling Skills.
Anita started as a mental health advocate in 2014 and volunteers and is ambassador for Partners for Mental Health, Mental Health Commission of Canada, SickNotWeak, NNMH, Healthy Minds Canada, Born This Way Foundation (Lady Gaga). Anita is also a mental health blogger for Healthy Minds Canada, The Mighty, KMA Therapy (Toronto), Defying Shadows, Stigma Magazine (BC). Anita is a Change Agent for CAMH and has participated in the One Brave Night for the last 2 years and has been involved with the Bell Let’s Talk campaign for the last 4 years.
Anita’s vast knowledge of mental health is based on her lived experience as a family members growing up with her father who lived with manic depression (Bipolar) all his life. Her brother because of the domestic violence and abuse witnessed from her father, her brother now lives with C-PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, her mother lives with C-PTSD and Depression and Anita lives with C-PTSD. Anita’s boyfriend also lives with severe OCD, Clinical Depression, GAD and several personality disorders.
May Recollect – Representing Indigenous Communities
May is the Healing and Wellness Coordinator at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre. A trained facilitator in traditional healing and wellness May has strong roots in the community. She is actively involved in teaching others and continually learning the traditional ways of the community to share her knowledge. Providing the experience of life on the reserve and who work in the city at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre.
May’s insight into healing and wellness provides a rounded perspective from her years growing up as an aboriginal child within the foster care system. May has worked through many issues relating to her mental health and manages the challenges of her physical condition with grace. May recognizes the connection between mental health and her physical condition and is grateful for the traditions that she shares with others. May is a graduate from Nipissing University with her degree in Social Welfare and Sociology Honors Degree.
Sarah Bell – Manitoba
Sarah is a graduate of the Social Service Worker Program from Canadore College in North Bay of which she is very proud. She has obtained her Bachelor degree in Social Work. Sarah has been coping with mental health illness most of her life. She is excited to be on the board bringing a new perspective, new ideas and ways of reaching out to the young people across the country. By sharing her story Sarah hopes to enlighten other young people who suffer with mental health issues, to understand and gain control of their individual situations. So that they can step out of the dark knowing that there is hope and help for them to achieve their goals.