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One of Canada’s oldest non-profits

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. Their goals 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. Hinck’s impact

Dr. Hincks became director of the association in 1924. His personal experience with depression and empathy for others with mental illness, coupled with his knowledge of medicine revolutionized the conditions and treatment of many mental health patients in Canada. Disappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly considering the context of the time, Dr. Hinck’s impact in Canada was not entirely positive. He was a known proponent of eugenics, a science rooted in the foundational belief of white supremacy.

Healing and reconciliation

Today, as we look back at our past and ahead to the future, CMHA must carve a new path that both honours the lived experience and knowledge of those who have experienced mental illness, and recognizes that a future of mental health for all requires us to consider all communities and identities. We must also face the history of our organization and of Canada, and work as allies to reconcile and heal the trauma of our past and present.

Our partners and supporters

We’re grateful for the generosity of individuals, businesses, organizations, foundations, and governments in our community and beyond and whose support and encouragement make our programs possible.