One of Canada's Oldest Non-Profits
The Canadian Mental Health Association is one of the oldest national, charitable organizations in Canada and the oldest national mental health charity. Each year, CMHA divisions and branches across Canada provide service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff in locally run organizations in more than 135 communities. Visit CMHA National's website for more information.
CMHA was founded in 1918 by Dr. Clarence M. Hincks, Dr. Charles K. Clarke and Clifford W. Beers as the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene. The original goals of the organization centred around war recruits, mental examination of post-war immigrants, prevention, and support for adequate facilities and care for the treatment of mental illness.
Dr. Hincks became director of the association in 1924. He developed an interest in patients whose work and productive lives were hampered by what was then seen as malfunctions of the mind. He suffered from periodic bouts of depression all his life, so his empathy toward his fellow sufferers, coupled with a profound knowledge of medicine and early twentieth-century psychological developments in Europe revolutionized the conditions and treatment of mental health patients in Canada.
CMHA is uniquely positioned in Canada as a charity that brings together community-based experience and expertise on the prevention of mental illness and community supports for the mental well-being of all Canadians. We are not only unique in our mental health promotion approach, but also in our ability to speak to issues spanning the broad range of mental disorders and the full spectrum of those affected: from those at risk, to those newly diagnosed, to those who have been living with a psychiatric disability over the longer-term - as well as family, friends and community gatekeepers.
CMHA Kelowna's Beginnings
CMHA has been in Kelowna since 1956 when it was formed by a small group of individuals who wanted to see better services for their loved ones. In 1971, CMHA Kelowna began offering programs to adults and seniors living with mental illness. Since that time, we have been providing a full range of supports to people with serious and persistent mental illness to recover and those seeking information about promoting mental health. We have been at the leading edge of providing supports to assist people with mental health issues to develop the tools to lead meaningful, productive lives. We believe that people can recover from mental illness or homelessness when they play an active, empowered role in their journey.
We look at the whole person rather than simply their illness. We believe that all Kelowna citizens have the right to shelter, an opportunity to earn a decent income, and to access activities and treatment that supports their recovery.