Board members and senior staff from 65 diverse organizations working together to build the Mental Health & Addictions Charter for Niagara gathered for a learning breakfast on March 27, 2014. They shared ideas about incorporating Charter Principles into their strategic planning to achieve Collective Impact through implementation of the Charter.

Niagara Health System CEO Kevin Smith congratulated the group on collectively demonstrating that wellness of the people of Niagara is at the center of our work, as is a commitment to supercharging our systems, through evidence-informed planning, for the benefit of all citizens. CMHA Niagara Board President Rashmi Biswas challenged peer Board members to learn about the Charter, in the interest of educated decision-making.

The Mental Health & Addictions Charter for Niagara is a collective statement based on evidence and community expert opinion, gathered through a systematic process facilitated by Niagara Connects and Healthy Living Niagara. The Niagara-wide community began building the Charter in February, 2011.  The construction process included a 2012 environmental scan of global best practices, an online survey sent to over 100 organizations working in the mental wellness continuum in Niagara, a Niagara-wide forum and 4 construction working sessions in 2013, as well as formation of 3 working groups to gather information to strengthen Charter implementation.

Early 2014 activity has included review and comment on the final draft Charter document, and a final construction working session in Niagara Falls on April 3. An infographic was recently created to identify these milestone activities along the journey. The Community Launch of the Mental Health & Addictions Charter for Niagara will happen at the Welland Commmunity Wellness Complex on May 28, 2014.

Mary Wiley,
Executive Director,
Niagara Connects

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