Who we are
The Family Council:
Empowerment for Families in Addictions and Mental Health is a
not-for-profit corporation that acts on behalf of the families at the Centre
for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
The Family Council is a
member-run organization guided by Board of Directors elected by the Family
Council general membership. The family Council has one full-time Coordinator
and one full-time Administrative Assistant.
The Family Council
offers information, peer support and systemic advocacy to family members.
Families come in many shapes and sizes. "Family" is defined as anyone in a
close relationship with someone who has a mental health and/or a substance use
problem. This can be a friend, a relative, a spouse or a family member.
Started in 2001 and
incorporated in 2003, the Family Council was created in response to the
Empowerment Project and began at CAMH in 1999. This project aimed to find a way
to ensure the voices and concerns of clients and family members were
represented at the hospital through the participation of families and clients
in CAMH governance, committees, work groups and other appropriate groups.
What we do
The family Council is responsible for:
- Facilitating the participation of
families on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) advisory
committees, task forces and other appropriate groups.
- Representing the interests of families
in reviewing policies, program development and strategic planning at
- Reaching out to families, being a place
of contact and information for families at CAMH
What We Support
- Advocating for appropriate, adequate
and accessible programs and services for families at CAMH
- Sponsoring, encouraging and working
towards the creation of expanded supports and services for families
- Overseeing and providing volunteer,
peer support at the Family Resource Centre at the College Street site
Education and Information Sharing
- Developing and supporting information
and learning opportunities for families.
- Ensuring information is available to
families about educational events, seminars and current issues
- Encouraging and soliciting input from
families on their concerns and/or needs and communicating this information to
- Reviewing strengths and barriers with
respect to family involvement at CAMH
- Providing systemic advocacy on behalf
of families within CAMH when necessary and appropriate.
- Ensuring that the voices of families
are heard throughout the broader mental health and addiction field in Ontario
Our Board of Directors
Mercedes has been employed as a
Clothing retailer (owned operated 3 stores and managed a 4th), and a Law Clerk
and Paralegal at Criminal Law. For the past several years she has filled the
role of Executive Assistant to the Director in a number of federal government
and corporate agencies. Mercedes interest in joining the board of The
Family Council is a result of her personal experience as a mom to a young man
who has schizophrenia. She thankfully relates that with a lot of hard work and
input from close family members and friends, along with his determination to
succeed in managing his illness, her son has been doing wonderfully for more
than a decade now. Mercedes feels she has some positive experiences to share
with families in the mental health community about how her family has coped
with this illness, and as a Director of The Family Council, is enthusiastic
about representing these same families as an advocate within the mental health,
clinical network, and in the community.
Ada Ho Ying
Ada is a family lawyer in Toronto
serving primarily low income individuals, including many who struggle with
mental health and addiction issues. Ada brings a unique perspective on how
family support contributes to a more sustainable recovery.
Ada has a longstanding interest in
promoting social justice, both locally and globally. After graduating from
McGill University, she spent six months in Mumbai, India, supporting income
generation projects for local women. During law school, she completed an
internship with the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation, supporting the legal
rights of those living with HIV/AIDS in that region.
Ron Herry is a Manager with
KPMGs Transaction & Restructuring Practice, where he is responsible
for performing valuation of private business ventures and valuation of goodwill
and intangible assets. He began his career with KPMG in their Financial
Institution Audit Practice, where he achieved his Chartered Accountant
designation. He is also a charterholder of the Chartered Financial Analyst
Ron earned his Bachelor of Commerce
(with Honours) from Ryerson University. Ron has held various leadership
positions in the community. While at Ryerson University, he was a co-founder
and president of a student group organization with the mandate of advocating
volunteer opportunities to the Ryerson community. He is presently involved as a
mentor in Junior Achievement of Canadas Company Program.
After experiencing the mental health
system alongsided a family member, Cara decided to become a Social Worker in
order to put her experiences to use. She began by volunteering at CAMH's
Teleophone support Line and shortly after was accepted into York University's
social Work program and attained her BSW. While working on her undergraduate
degree Cara also volnteerred in the Family Services department of CAMH as a
Group Facilitator. She then moved on to support indivicuals with mental health
and subtance use struggles at Regenerationo House, during which time she worked
on getting her Master's degree in Social Work on full sholarship at York
Universitey. Cara is currently working as a Comunity Mental Health Counsellor
at Woodgreen Community Services and continues to bring passion and compassion
to her work with people with mental health and substance use struggles. Cara's
dog is a volunteer at CAMH too.
Anne was born in Timmins, Ontario. She
relocated to Toronto to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from
the University of Toronto. Anne is married and has three children and four
Anne has worked as a Public Health
Nurse and a Program Nurse Manager at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health
(previously Mental Health Centre, Penetanguishene). Anne joined the Family
Council in 2007. She reports that membership on the Board has kept her in touch
with current thinking about mental illness and has given her the opportunity to
give back to the CAMH community for the excellent care which her son has
Graduate of Ziza Lazarevic Serbia in
Economics and Finance. Experienced in personal banking and financial planning.
Rishi is a graduate of the University
of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University. He holds an MBA and a CMA
designation. Rishi has worked in various industries, such as, information
technology, automotive, telecommunications, and consulting.
Anita Gaide has been a professional
organist for 45 years. She has given concerts in Canada, the US, Europe and
Latvia. Her musical education includes the ARCT (Gold medal, Royal Conservatory
of Music), ARCCO, and the Diplome de Virtuosité from the Schola Cantorum
in Paris. Among her six academic degrees are an MA in Latin, University of
Toronto and Doctor of Theology from Victoria University, U of T. She has worked
for the Toronto District School Board as a teacher, counselor and ESL assessor
since 1981. Anita is minister of the East Toronto Latvian Lutheran Church. She
is the co-chair of the Deer Park Community Citizenship Committee and is
presently the chair of the Latvian National Opera Fund in Canada.
With over 25-years experience in
senior Human Resource management, bolstered by his education in communications,
Bosville Salmon brings many valuable assets that make him a suitable "fit" to
serve as a member of the Family Council Board.
Most notable is his personal and
processional involvement over the past 2-years dealing with his son's mental
illness and addressing the mental health stigma of fear and reprisals in the
workplace. For him it's not just personal; the public's perception of mental
illness and the subsequent behavioural response to the mentally ill must
His first foray into the Community
involvement field came with his work with former MP Alvin Curling, to address
funding and management issues of Caribana Festival and Board of the Caribbean
Cultural Committee ( CCC).
Bosville Salmon holds a BA Degree in
Mass Media Telecommunications from the University of Akron, Ohio, and lives in
Caledon ON with his wife and their two sons.