Mood Disorders Society of Canada is pleased to announce that Mr. Dave Gallson has been appointed National Executive Director at the MDSC national Board of Directors meeting held in Toronto June 16th and 17th, 2017. In what the board described as being an exemplary process of succession planning, Dave assumes the role with unanimous support of the MDSC Board, as well as Mr. Phil Upshall, who has served as the organization’s National Executive Director since its inception in 2001.
Dave has a long history working within the mental health sector and has served as Associate National Executive Director for MDSC, working alongside Phil since 2010. As National Executive Director, Dave brings with him the experience and commitment to build upon MDSC programs and services and will continue to develop and launch projects that strengthen Canada’s mental health resources. Under Dave’s leadership, MDSC will move forward to address the mental health needs of Canadians through an engaged broad stakeholder partnerships approach.
“I am very happy to announce Dave Gallson’s appointment as National Executive Director of the MDSC. Dave has been an integral part of the success here at MDSC and has demonstrated a resounding ability to lead this organization over the next decade. His knowledge, dedication to our cause, work ethic, and ability to create and maintain positive trust-based relationships will support our strategic plan that will benefit the Canadian mental health community”.
John Starzynski, Chairman, MDSC Board of Directors
MDSC is also very thankful that Phil Upshall will assume the role of National Policy Advisor to MDSC and Mr. Gallson.


The Jordan James Pickell award was presented on May 24th to the Waterloo CDSB for their embrace of EITR.   They implemented the Elephant in the Room anti-stigma program board wide in their 46 Elementary Schools, 5 Secondary Schools and in their Adult and Continuing Education Campuses.  Additionally, they incorporated Mental Health and EITR into their strategic plans.  Their implementation included specialized messaging for students and staff, the use of special reading materials for the younger students and at the high school level, the creation of a video which can be found HERE
MDSC is very pleased to have awarded Jonathan Toews as the 2017 recipient of the Marg Starzynski Mental Health Leadership Award.  This award is presented to individuals whose dedicated leadership in community mental health awareness and through personal contributions to raising awareness of mental illness has had a positive impact on the mental health community. Jonathan hiked Ontario’s Bruce Trail in five separate 24hr (100km) hikes from February 4 to March 4.






MDSC’s Workplace Mental Health Guide
The Workplace Mental Health guide has already been downloaded over 25,000  times and is filled with links to free resources, tools and supports. This step by step book is your easy to follow guide on how to create a mentally healthy workplace and what to do when mental illness strikes. Your office or organization needs hard copies for your managers and employees. It is a resource that everyone will value greatly. Order your hard copy today.



Our Transitions to Communities (TTC) program goal is to assist nearly 450 Canadians in three cities over 3 years who are experiencing obstacles. The program provides direct supports with a focus on employability skills, mental well-being and peer support. This is another innovative program which incorporates mental health knowledge and wellness maintenance into the daily lives of participants. Funded through the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons With Disabilities  the TTC program is operating in three 3 project locations in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Funded by the Opportunity Funds for Persons with Disabilities of Employment and Social Development Canada, you can learn more about the program HERE







MDSC is very proud of the significant accomplishments Project Trauma Support (PTS) is achieving. PTS is a week-long concentrated program, for military and first responders who have had their lives ravaged by PTSD. PTS uses equine therapy, rope challenge courses, psychotherapy and Peer Support. The project runs cohorts of 12 persons, and has ran 6 programs thus far with incredible results. Dr Manuela Joannou, who along with L.Col. Besemann run the program out of Perth ON., and we are very pleased to have them as part of the MDSC family of programs. We thank True Patriot Love Foundation (TPLF) for their support in assisting Veterans participating in the Summer 2017 delivery of Program. The support we receive from TPLF is so very appreciated.




Just as recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression is important to enable people to seek out treatment, it is equally key to recognize the signs of recovery or ‘what better feels like.’
We embarked on a project to learn from others who have “been there,” to understand what better feels like to them. Here, ten people who had experienced depression were interviewed to answer questions like: What is depression like? What are the signs of getting better? What helped and what didn’t? And what does better feel like?




The MDSC Discussion Forum is a safe place for you to share any mental health concerns or issues you or a loved one is experiencing; ask questions and learn from others who are going through, or who have been through similar challenges. By joining the MDSC Discussion Forum you can find help and support, read about how others are living with and managing mood disorders, connect with people by sharing your experience and offering your support — all from the privacy, and comfort of your own home and on your schedule.



In 2013, the APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) began galvanizing efforts to address the mental health challenges confronted by some 2.8 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region. These efforts resulted in the APEC Joint Workplan on Mental Health and the 2014 APEC Roadmap to Promote Mental Wellness in a Healthy Asia-Pacific.  As a result of all these activities, the APEC health ministers endorsed an initiative to establish a Digital Hub for Mental Health: Best Practices and Innovative Partnerships (Digital Hub) in November 2015. After an APEC-wide competition, Canada was awarded the role as host of the Digital Hub. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between APEC and MDSC, on behalf of the host institution, the University of British Columbia (UBC).  MDSC, UBC and the University of Alberta are working together in developing the Digital Hub that is being hosted at UBC in collaboration with leading academic mental health research institutions and government agencies across APEC member economies.
On June 27th and 28th the APEC Digital Hub held its first international conference in Vancouver. With the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and with welcoming comments from the Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, the event witnessed the launch of the Digital Hub and showcased international mental health leaders and innovative mental health collaborations. A note of special thank you to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, who is also a proud supporter of the APEC Digital Hub.







The Defeat Depression campaign continues to be extremely successful this year and has expanded to over 90 communities across the country with well over 20,000 Canadians taking part in community events. The campaign has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars this year for community mental health organizations bringing much needed support to Canadians affected by mental illness, thanks to the thousands of people who come out to the events and move for mental health! Thank you all so much! We love your enthusiasm and dedication to making a difference.
If your community does not yet hold a Defeat Depression event, we can help you set up an exciting and fun event that brings people together to increase mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and raise important funds for mental health. Join this national multi-organizational movement to change the way we look at mental health and support your community. Contact us TODAY!


Let’s keep the campaign growing so we can help more families. Please go to the website and create an event like a walk, run, ride, or other event, or create a workplace event. Invite your family and friends and make a Move for Mental Health.
You can also support us by making a tax deductible donation to the campaign HERE .


Please support this national effort and show your pride by purchasing your Defeat Depression Official Campaign T-Shirt and merchandise HERE



Watch the recently released campaign update video!







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MDSC continues to advocate for the best interests of persons impacted by mental illness. In June of 2016, we provided a brief to House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, For its study on the Development of a National Pharmacare Program.
Some of the key recommendations we put forth on the National Pharmacare Program are:
Because mental illness is a $51 billion issue that must be addressed, a national pharmacare program must make mental health a priority and put the patient first;
A national pharmacare program must also be accessible to all Canadians regardless of illness and view the severity of physical and mental illnesses on an equal basis;
A national pharmacare program must allow patients the ability to choose medications that work for them, and;
The federal government has signalled it wants to make Canada an innovation nation, it must encourage mental health innovation and ongoing research and development in order for new ground-breaking medications and treatments to be discovered


MDSC has joined the Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication (CEADM) to inform and educate key stakeholders regarding the systemic issue regarding a lack of access to innovative treatments for Canadians living with major depressive disorder. The goal of CEADM is to have a common national voice on behalf of Canadians who need equitable access to medication to treat their depression; regardless of their income, education or access to employment benefits.


In Feb of 2017 MDSC presented to the House of Commons Veterans Affairs Committee Meeting for its study on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Among Veterans, A Collaborative Approach to Addressing Suicide, where we detailed our recommendations on providing and improving programs and policies.
Our veterans have placed their lives on the line for our country. Providing care to these men and women must be a priority for all Canadians.


Elephant in the Room (EITR) continues to expand with many new organizations, businesses and schools implementing the campaign.  We have seen a extreme growth in organizations and individuals who are using EITR across Canada and we have also shared it through a partnership with Ireland and the UK.


We recently partnered with the following organizations for successful EITR implementations:
–        University of New Brunswick
–        Trent Central Student Association at Trent University
–        Seneca College
–        Stewart McKelvey Law Firm
–        Lakefield College


This program is a huge benefit to changing the workplace environment and is very easy to start.  If you don’t see the Blue Elephant on desks and walls in your workplace, your organizations needs to join the anti-stigma campaign and give you the resources to make your organization stigma-free, contact us or visit the website here and apply online. Great reduced prices for bulk orders!
Buy your own Elephant here: We will send it to you in its own travel case, with information on the campaign and your own Elephant in the Room Bracelet.


Give a gift today! The Mood Disorders Society of Canada depends on the generosity of Canadians to support our work in developing relevant programs and resources to serve the mental health community. Please make a tax deductible donation to MDSC online today!
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada was launched in 2001 to provide people with mood disorders, their families and caregivers a strong, cohesive voice at the national level on issues relating to mental health and mental illness. With particular regard to depression, bipolar disorder and other associated mood disorders, the MDSC aims to improve access to treatment, inform research, shape program development and government policy to improve the quality of life for people affected by mood disorders. The Society fulfills its mandate through an active partnership approach that engages like-minded organizations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The MDSC is engaged on an ongoing basis in a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to support the inclusion of persons with disabling mental illnesses in Canadian society and has taken a lead proactive role in public policy and program development in many capacities on the national stage.
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Mood Disorders Society of Canada,  Suite 736, 304 Stone Road West, Unit 3, Guelph, Ontario N1G 4W4 Canada
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