History of Healthy Minds Cooperative
In the Fall of 2004, Capital Health and the Dalhousie University Department of Psychiatry began a strategic planning process to improve mental health in the Capital District. Strategic planning was the beginning of the Healthy Minds Initiative, a shared effort to create a mental health community of excellence. The Healthy Minds Initiative defines a mental health community of excellence as a community that puts people who are living with mental illness or experiencing mental health issues at the centre, and encompasses excellence in clinical care, advocacy, research and education (CARE).
The early stages of strategic planning identified that meaningful consumer participation is critical to creating a mental health community of excellence. After several months of planning and development by team leader and service user, Stephen Ayer, team member and service user, Jean-Pierre Galipeault, and team member and service provider, Trevor Briggs, a consumer cooperative called the Healthy Minds Cooperative was brought to life.
The Healthy Minds Cooperative is an independent, not-for-profit group that provides support to people who are living with mental illness or mental health issues, and their families by:
• Improving access to mental health services and support via consumer navigators and peer support
• Providing education to support early intervention and to address stigma
• Encouraging participation in the design, development, delivery and evaluation of mental health services in the Capital District
• Advocating on behalf of mental health consumers
• Facilitating connections to community services