Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction group announces members

With 21 members, the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction (CAMHA) Stewardship Group has officially convened. Meeting bi-monthly, the CAMHA Stewardship Group is being co-chaired by Dr. Chris Eagle and Karen Gosbee, and is tasked with coordinating existing services throughout the city to build a made-in-Calgary strategy that will provide solutions and supports for those affected by mental health and addictions issues.

CAMHA had their first meeting as a combined group on Nov. 1, and are working towards setting up their first series of Collaboration Circles. These Collaboration Circles are designed to bring together systems thinkers from business, education, community, and Alberta Health Services to develop more holistic approaches to these individual, family, and community issues.

“There are hundreds of people in our city that are working incredibly hard to try and support those dealing with mental health and addictions issues,” said Dr. Chris Eagle, co-chair of CAMHA. “By bringing this group together, we not only better understand the work that is already being done, but we have found ways to leverage that work with other services. As we continue to work in this collaborative manner, we’re going to realize where the gaps in our system exist and where one service can complement another. Too many in our city are hurting, and we can do more to help develop things that work in our city, in the province, and throughout Canada.”

“Success for us is that mental health and addiction supports will be accessed much earlier as we normalize this experience,” said Karen Gosbee, co-chair of CAMHA. “Let’s begin to value this expertise more widely as it will guide when and how the services are needed for Calgarians, and develop the framework for other cities to follow our lead.”

The group, which meets bi-monthly, will continue to build additional Collaboration Circles and initiate fast pilot projects, through funding approved at City Council in July.

“It comes down to taking action. The effects of mental health and addictions affect individuals and families, but it also affects so many parts of our city,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “This is a brilliant, dedicated group of people working on behalf of our citizens. When we talk about Calgary’s Comeback, we have to remember that supporting those that need our help is a big part of that success.”

“I see our work as not only coordinating existing services, but harmonizing and maximizing access to services,” said Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart.

CAMHA is comprised of the two co-chairs, as well as:

  • David Duckworth - City of Calgary, City Manager
  • Dr. Valerie Taylor - Alberta Health Services and University of Calgary, Department Head, Psychiatry
  • Dr. Laura McLeod - Alberta Health Services, Zone Medical Officer of Health
  • Janet Chafe, Alberta Health Services - Executive Director, Addiction & Mental Health, Calgary Zone
  • Cliff O’Brien - Calgary Police Service, Acting Deputy Chief
  • Steve Hardy - CMHA Calgary Region, Innovation Scaling Advisor
  • Dr. Michelle Gagnon - Alberta Family Wellness Initiative Palix Foundation, President and CEO
  • Karen Young - United Way of Calgary and Area, President and CEO
  • Joanne Pitman - Calgary Board of Education, Superintendent School Improvement
  • Andrea Holowka - Calgary Catholic School District, Superintendent Instruction Services
  • Debbie Bruckner - University of Calgary, Senior Director, Student Wellness, Access & Support
  • Dr. Paul Arnold - Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education, University of Calgary
  • Dr. David Park - Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Director
  • Dr. William Ghali - O’Brien Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary, Scientific Director
  • Bryan de Lottinville - Benevity, CEO
  • Curtis Stange - ATB Financial, President and CEO
  • Diane Colley-Urquhart - City of Calgary, City Councillor
  • Naheed Nenshi - City of Calgary, Mayor

For more information on The City of Calgary’s action on mental health and addictions, please visit: