Mental Health Round Table Summary

May 4, 2018


On May 2nd 2018 I hosted a Mental Health Round Table on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Suicide Prevention. This event convened mental health researchers and service providers from across Canada to exchange best practices and provide a dialogue with parliamentarians on how to move the needle on this pressing issue. To keep you informed of my work to improve mental health in our community and accross Canada here is a summary of the key findings of the day and of the presentations provided throughout the day. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the wonderful speakers, attendees, Members of Parliament, and Senators who all made this day a success. 


Summary of Findings:  

  1. Measuring outcomes versus activities.
    • Measures must be developed and integrated to inform whether people are getting better as a result of the Federal investment in Mental Health.
  2. Clear lead/connector in federal government for mental health. 
    • All orders of government must take a whole of government approach to mental health where they promote cross department collaboration to improve mental health (eg: feds to link jurisdictions over health promotion, housing/social services, defence/veterans, public safety, etc to building whole of government mental health strategy). 
  3. Collaborative whole of community approach is needed to engage and support youth.
    • Silos must be torn down and front line services must be easier to navigate and access.
  4. Ensure polices are youth focused and designed.
    • Policy design sould be guided by youth with aim to empower them through robust engagement, leadership realization, and resilience building.


Summary & Slide Decks of Speakers:


Phil Upshall, Senior Policy Advisor to Mood Disorders Society of Canada

  • Moderator of the day. Provided insightful and thought provoking comments.


Dr Ian Manion, Phd, C.Psych, The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre

  • Cost of untreated ACEs become problematic and costly as the individual matures. It costs far less for ACEs to be prevented or addressed earlier than to treat ongoing mental health issues that result from ACEs.
  • 70% of adult mental illness begins in adolescence, 50% begins before the age of 14. 
  • A link to for youth integrated health care. 
  • Youth are leaders right now not the leaders of tomorrow. 
  • Youth need to be engaged in their health care and empowered to be resilient (it's ok for them to learn to fail). 


Louise Bradley, President and Chief Executive Office of the Mental Health Commission of Canada

  • Youth engagement is key.  
  • Headstrong youth mental health education program that is being rolled out. MHCC is actively looking for partnership opportunites and is welcoming proposals.


Stephen Harrison, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network

  • Collaboration for system alignment must be focus in developing strong health systems in communities. 
  • RAAC is a great model that is providing faster access, more services and improving the quality of care. It required no new cash and saved money in terms of ED visits.  
  • Health authorities need to focus on client based service models.  

Dr Kim Corace, Phd, C.Psych, Substance Use and Concurent Disorders Program at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre

  • Youth 5 times more likely than adults to report harm from substance use than adults. 
  • Average age of substance use initiation is 14 years old. 
  • Alcohol, cannabis, binge drinking, and opioids are all higher rates of use for youth than smoking. Shows evidence based education campaigns work.  
  • Concurrent disorders are the norm: people who use drugs usually have mental health issues and people who have mental health issues usually use drugs. The balance of treatment for mental health and substance use is key for preventing suicide.  
  • Youth who had ACEs are 7 times more likely to have a alcohol problem 10 times more likely to inject drugs 12 times more likely to commit suicide.  
  • Addressing gaps in care - RAAC is a great model that works in Ottawa. The regional opioid prevention team is a good model to look at.  



Karla Thorpe, Director, Prevention and Promotion Initiatives at the Mental Health Commission of Canada

  • 4000 Canadians die by suicide every year. 5 million Canadians are affected. 
  • Roots of Hope is the MHCC model that is based off of international best practices to promote suicide prevention. Includes training, awareness, restricting access, research and supports.  
  • They are looking to expand the program across Canada.  

Brian Hansell, Founder and President of the Paul Hansell Foundation

  • Spoke to the lived experience of being a parent impacted by youth suicide and the Paul Hansell foundation.
  • Shared the success of the ConvoPlate project where youth craft plates to promote and stimulate dialogue around mental wellness. The project has gone viral and is a complete success.
  • Presented plates to speakers throughout the day.
  • Encourages that its ok to be SAD (stressed, anxious, and depressed) and that its important to let your insides out by talking about your mental health with your family, friends, and peers.


Ernie Gibbs, Mental Health Counselor at the Centretown Community Health Centre 

  • Risk and resilience for LGBTQ youth. 
  • Half of LGBTQ youth have thought of suicide. 
  • Puberty is a major stressor in their life where they question their gender and identiy. Also subjected to a lot of bully. 
  • LGBTQ adolescence not youth 8 times more likely to commit suicide. 
  • is a learning resource 


Brian Rush, Senior Scientist at the Homewood Research Institute 

  • Applied research to improve care and outcomes. 
  • Key is to measure outcomes instead of activities. 
  • Big question:  
    • How are initiatives connected? 
    • How do we measure recovery outcomes?  
  • Complex adaptive systems that are flexible is key for the health system to respond to crisis in a sustainable manner.  
  • Develop solutions with all stakeholders and orders of government. Including:  
    • Building upon work in addictions to expand outcome measurement to mental health.  
    • Developing evaluation and performance indicators of collaborative care between mental health and addictions and primary care services. 
    • Developing and testing models of measurements-based care, an emerging best practice in the field.