May 28 2014: Launch of the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter

Today marks the launch of the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter.

Presented at a breakfast with dozens of local agencies in attendance, the community-driven Charter marks the collective commitment of over 65 diverse organizations to strengthening the continuum of mental wellness promotion, mental illness prevention and mental health and addictions services in Niagara.

The origins of the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter began in 2010 when Healthy Living Niagara (HLN) completed a community input process that led to a Mental Health Working Group being formed in 2011. Subsequently, Niagara Connects and HLN facilitated an environmental scan of global best practice, an online survey of Niagara organizations concerned with mental health and addictions, five inter-agency working sessions and a learning breakfast about the Charter’s implications for decision-making, for board members of Niagara organizations concerned with mental health and addictions.

The Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter Roadmap details the milestones between 2010 and this momentous day. The Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter speaks passionately to the collective aspirations of the community. Its goals include incorporating mental wellness for all people in planning for the future, and taking an inclusive, holistic, preventive, individual and family-centered approach across the whole lifespan (prenatal – older adult), so that each community member has the opportunity to achieve their optimal level of wellbeing.

The Charter lays out principles that will take the community forward in achieving these goals, including:

  1. Promotion and Prevention
  2. Holistic Approach
  3. Individual and Family-Centered Services
  4. Direction of Resources
  5. Partnerships
  6. Information
  7. Inclusivity and Respect
  8. Knowledge Exchange
  9. Continuous Evaluation

In signing on to enact the Charter, agencies from across Niagara that are concerned with mental health and addictions pledge their commitment to work and plan together with the above principles in mind. Their view is one of raised awareness, education, and better coordination of resources for a world-class continuum of wellness promotion, illness prevention and mental health and addictions services in Niagara. At Niagara Connects we are excited and honoured to be a partner in this work. The launch of the Charter is an important step for our community and we are confident that this is but one milestone in a continued conversation. We encourage you to read the Charter and consider how you, your team and your organization can align your own work with the principles presented in this resource.

Mary Wiley
Executive Director
Niagara Connects
ed@niagaraconnects.ca

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