Response to Mental Health and Addictions Plan

Lighting the Path: A cross-sector response to BC’s mental health & addictions plan

BC has taken another step toward achieving mental health for all. Our provincial 10-year plan for improving mental health and addictions care, A Pathway to Hope, was made public June 2019. Its long anticipated release marked a shift toward mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention; decisions based on evidence and high standards; co-design by people with lived experience; and real progress on wellness basics that support mental health such as income, housing and social connection. 

There is now real hope for better mental health and addictions care in our province – but how do we move from a plan to action? This webinar discusses the strengths of A Pathway to Hope, its gaps and missed opportunities, and strategies for continued cross-sector advocacy to meaningfully fulfill its aims. Please view the recording to hear the discussion between CMHA BC and a panel of community leaders. 



Sarah Irving, Peer Advocate




Sarah Irving has had the privilege over the past few years of working as a peer and supervisor of peers in a variety of different capacities and organizations. She has worked as a peer support worker, has trained and supervised peer supporters, was part of developing a curriculum for youth peer support, and most recently worked for CMHA Vancouver-Fraser Branch as the Program Manager of Peer Services.

Sarah is very passionate about people with lived experience not only working within our mental health and substance use systems, but also shaping the design, delivery and evaluation of services. 

Leslie McBain, Co-Founder

Moms Stop the Harm


Leslie McBain is the co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm and a Family Engagement lead for the BC Center on Substance use. Her work is rooted in lived experience. Leslie lost her only child, Jordan Miller to a drug overdose in 2014, when he was only 25 years old. Since then she has become an advocate for more compassionate, evidence-based drug policies, co-founding an organization and leading advocacy efforts that calls for harm reduction, decriminalization, and family involvement in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, as well as in the policy-making and research process. She has also attended the 2018 United Nations annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs as a member of the Canadian Delegation.

Dr. Cornelia Wieman, Senior Medical Officer

First Nations Health Authority


Dr. Cornelia (Nel) Wieman works for the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) as Senior Medical Officer, Mental Health & Wellness and as an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Nel is Anishnawbe – Little Grand Rapids First Nation from Manitoba and Canada’s first female Indigenous psychiatrist.  She completed her medical degree and psychiatry specialty training at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Since then her career has included providing psychiatric services at a community mental health clinic, contributing to the development of a national framework addressing First Nations youth suicide; being the Co-Director of the Indigenous Health Research Development Program, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Faculty Advisor to the Indigenous Students Health Sciences Office at McMaster University; a co-investigator for several initiatives funded through the Canadian Institute of Health Research and a staff psychiatrist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health; and serving on the Indspire Foundation’s Board of Directors and as President of the Indigenous Physicians Association in Canada.

Nel has received the Indspire Achievement Award Laureate for career achievement in the category of medicine, was an inaugural receipt of the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Alumni Achievement Award, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Nel’s clinical, academic and advocacy work has always been focused on improving the health and mental health status of Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous youth, across Canada.

Response to Mental Health and Addictions Plan
Response to Mental Health and Addictions Plan
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