ST. JOHN’S, NL – The provincial government completed another step of the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan on Tuesday with the appointment of members to the new Recovery Council.
Paula Corcoran-Jacobs, who is the provincial executive director of the Consumers’ Health Awareness Network Newfoundland And Labrador (CHANNAL), has been appointed as chair of the council.
Other appointees are April Anderson, Suzanne Barry-Kroening, Jeffrey Bourne, Norma Connolly, Amelia Curran, Jason Earle, Mike Herrell, Arch Pardy, Rick Pittman, Joanne Power, Peter Ralph, Amanda Rich, Danielle Stennett and Alexandra Young.
The council will provide guidance on progress in supporting patients and clients through the recovery process, and will report directly to the Minister of Health and Community Services.
“I am pleased to have in place such a diverse and knowledgeable group of voices to provide advice on the process of recovery,” Health and Community Services Minister John Haggie said in a news release.
“To transform mental health and addictions services into a recovery-focused, person-centred system, we require sound insight from people who have experience with accessing help for themselves or their family members.”
Corcoran-Jacobs said she is honoured to lead the Recovery Council.
“Collectively, we represent individuals with mental health and addictions issues as well as family members from all parts of our province, all of which eagerly provide a variety of diverse experiences and insight,” she said.
“The input from this council paired with the work that is already underway is critical to ensuring that this system transformation is effective and efficient.”
The Recovery Council will work closely with the Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council.
A terms of reference has been developed for the Recovery Council and can be found online at www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/mentalhealth/resources.html.
Paula Corcoran-Jacobs has been the Provincial Executive Director of the Consumers Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador (CHANNAL), a mental health peer support organization, since 2012. She is a national master trainer with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and represents the voice of lived experience in many capacities. She is an appointed member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities since 2014, the Provincial Advisory Council on Mental Health and Addiction since 2015 and most recently was appointed to the WorkplaceNL Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.
April Anderson is currently working as program clinical manager with the Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Centre (CJAY) in Sheshatshiu. Before working with CJAY, Ms. Anderson worked with Labrador Grenfell Health Mental Health and Addictions Services. She worked as a mental health and addictions counsellor in the communities of Rigolet, Postville, Makkovik and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from St. Thomas University.
Suzanne Barry-Kroening is a counsellor at the John Howard Society. She earned a social work degree from St. Thomas University and had a lead role in establishing the first mobile crisis unit in Fredericton which, in unison with Fredericton City Police and RCMP, responded to mental health crises throughout the greater Fredericton area. Ms. Barry-Kroening’s goal is to help to establish a healthy mental health process that will address the needs of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the province.
Jeffrey Bourne is the executive director and co-founder of U-Turn Drop-in Centre in Carbonear. His work with U-Turn is supplemented with years of lived experience with addiction and recovery. Mr. Bourne has a certificate in Addiction Studies from Mount Royal University, a diploma in Ministry and Theological Studies from Queen’s College, and a number of other certificates that contribute to his work at U-Turn. He was awarded the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) President’s Award and the Queen’s College Alumni/ae Association Award for outstanding graduate in the Diploma in Theology and Ministry Program.
Norma Connolly is retired from the military with 31 years of service. She has served in Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Alaska and Dubai. While in Guam she worked on the reintegration of troops coming in from Afghanistan. Ms. Connolly has extensive experience that will be valuable to the work of the Recovery Council.
Amelia Curran is a musician and advocate for health reform, as well as a guest speaker at school, music, and arts conferences. Ms. Curran has run a grassroots advocacy group, “It’s Mental,” for three years. She is also an advocacy advisor to North in Focus, a youth run mental health organization for youth in northern communities. Currently Ms. Curran is working toward her instructor certification in mental health first aid from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Jason Earle sits on various committees related to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. He has presented in various locations including the recovery center, schools, and recovery houses in various parts of country. Mr. Earle wants to serve as a lived experience example to others, that recovery is possible.
Mike Herrell has been the Provincial Peer Support Coordinator of CHANNAL since 2014, supporting the team to provide frontline mental health services in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Harrell has spent the past 20 years working with three non-profit mental health organizations. Mike is a mental health first aid trainer and has provided training to a variety of businesses, government organizations and individuals.
Arch Pardy is a lieutenant at the Labrador Correctional Centre with 22 years of service. He was a member on the Labrador Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Advisory Committee. Mr. Pardy has lived his entire live in Labrador and is committed to improving the system both within corrections and the community.
Rick Pittman is passionate about the recovery model and through lived experience, brings a knowledge of youth in care and the importance of housing as a former client of Choices for Youth. Mr. Pittman has a Bachelor of Commerce and is near completion of a Master of Health Evaluation from the University of Waterloo. He is currently a member of the CHANNAL Board of Directors and is a policy analyst with the Department of Health and Community Services.
Joanne Power brings lived experience supporting a family member who has faced mental health and addictions crises on many occasions over the past decade. She has extensive experience as a volunteer and advocate for community agencies and recreational organizations and is a founding member of the Community Youth Network and the Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness in her area. Ms. Power also has 20 years of experience working in the public service. She currently is a client services manager with the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, with past experience as a policy analyst, program consultant and research assistant.
Peter Ralph, QC is a solicitor in with Department of Justice and Public Safety. Mr. Ralph has served as a panel member of the Newfoundland Mental Health Care and Treatment Act Review Board. As well, he served as a director on the Mental Health Commission of Canada. For more than 30 years he has been involved with mental health. As a former staff lawyer with the Newfoundland Legal Aid Commission, he helped establish the Mental Health Court in St. John’s. Mr. Ralph also served as president of the board of CHANNAL. Mr. Ralph has participated in various committees focused on mental health, including the drafting and implementation of the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act.
Amanda Rich is an outreach worker with Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation since 2012. She develops, and delivers programs regarding suicide prevention, youth gatherings and other youth needs. Also, she volunteers at the Apenam’s House - an addictions treatment centre. Ms. Rich was raised in Sheshatshui and is committed to her community. She has battled with addictions and mental health and is committed to assisting others with their struggles and recovery.
Danielle Stennett is a research assistant with the School of Pharmacy at Memorial University. She holds an undergraduate honours degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology, both of which focused on seniors and mental health. She is passionate about mental health and wellness, especially for remote populations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Alexandra Young has worked as a peer support specialist on the Assertive Community Treatment Team in Grand Falls-Windsor since September 2013. The team works with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness and aims to increase quality of life and aid individuals to live independently in their communities. Ms. Young uses her own lived experiences to connect with clients on a unique and personal level. She graduated from Memorial University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology and a certificate in criminology.