CMHA announces Dr. Patrick Smith as new national CEO

TORONTO, March 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Irene Merie, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Canadian Mental Health Association, is pleased to announce that Dr. Patrick Smith is CMHA's new national CEO. With a PhD in clinical psychology, he brings considerable experience to this position, having worked in leadership roles in the mental health and addictions sectors for more than 20 years.  

Dr. Smith will assume his new role as national CEO on April 18, 2016.

"I am excited to be joining CMHA at this important juncture in its history. It's one of the oldest charities in Canada and has a long tradition of helping Canadians improve their mental health and recover from mental illness. I am honoured to now be a part of this rich history," said Smith. 

A passionate and visionary leader who brings both clinical and research expertise to the position, Dr. Smith also brings extensive experience in mental health and addictions recovery and health systems planning and development. He comes to CMHA from Renascent – Fellowship and Foundation, where he led innovative, evidence-based strategies to address addictions and concurrent mental health issues. 

Prior to this, he was Vice President, Research, Networks and Academic Development at BC Mental Health and Addictions Services of the Provincial Health Services Authority in British Columbia and founding Head of UBC's Addiction Psychiatry Program. Dr. Smith has also served as Vice President of Clinical Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Head of the Addiction Psychiatry Division for the University of Toronto.

Read Dr. Smith's full bio here.

"I am delighted to have someone with such a distinguished career join CMHA. Patrick's enthusiasm and extensive senior leadership and management experience in addictions and mental health will make an invaluable contribution to CMHA," said Merie. "He will build on the many achievements accomplished over the past few years and will continue to champion sustainable mental health funding, which will make a real difference in the lives of all Canadians."

"Never has there been a time when mental health and mental illness have had such a focus in Canada, but it's still not enough. Investment in evidence-based treatments and supports for mental health problems is woefully lacking in relation to the burden of illness and costs to society," said Smith. "We need to close the "knowing-doing" gap and ensure high quality care and treatment, as well as prevention and supports, are available to all Canadians."

Dr. Smith adds that CMHA's Get Loud for Mental Health campaign underscores the need for every Canadian to play a role in breaking the silence and stigma surrounding mental health and addictions, and to celebrate collectively the power of recovery and the promise of mentally healthy individuals and communities. 

"With a rich and diverse history and with its 100th Anniversary fast approaching, CMHA is singularly positioned – along with our hundreds of community locations in each province across the country and with our partner agencies – to lead the way to a mentally healthy future for all Canadians," said Smith. "I'm excited to be following on the great work done by CMHA's national office over the years and to lead the organization into this exciting next phase of its journey."

"When people see what we have in store, everyone is going to want to come along and be part of this!" adds Smith.

About Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

Founded in 1918, The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community resources they need to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness.

Visit the CMHA website at cmha.ca today.

SOURCE Canadian Mental Health Association

Image with caption: "Canadian Mental Health Association (CNW Group/Canadian Mental Health Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160308_C1639_PHOTO_EN_637763.jpg

For further information: Carolyn Lovas, Senior Communications and Media Advisor, CMHA, National, clovas@cmha.ca, (416) 979-7948

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http://www.cmha.ca

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