Mental Health


Photo of two people sitting in a room across from each other. One is writing notes, and appears to be giving therapy to the other.

Established in 2020, the Research Exchange Group on Mental Health provides a forum where researchers, policy makers, students, clinicians and community members can gather to discuss mental health research in Newfoundland and Labrador.

See Group Activities and Presentations

Group Convener

The Research Exchange on Mental Health is convened by Brittany Howell, Manager of Policy and Program Planning (Content Manager with Bridge the Gapp) with the Mental Health and Addictions Division of the Department of Health Community Services, Government NL. Ms. Howell is a passionate advocate for mental health and addictions, health equity, and well-being.  She holds a Master's of Science in Pharmacy (Health Outcomes) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.


Goals & Objectives

The Research Exchange Group on Mental Health aims to:

  • Foster research collaboration on topics related to mental health across a range of academic disciplines
  • Facilitate networking opportunities and allow group members to connect with others who share their interest in mental health research, policy, and programming
  • Develop strategies to increase research capacity on mental health in Newfoundland and Labrador


Join Us

NLCAHR’s Research Exchange Group on Mental Health welcomes anyone with an interest in mental health to join us. Please see our calendar of meetings for information about upcoming webinars or email for more details.


Group Activities & Presentations


October 10, 2023 12:30PM NT | The World Health Organization EQUIP Platform:Ensuring Quality in Psychological Support with Rozane El Masri |EQUIP is a joint WHO/UNICEF project to improve the competence of helpers and the consistency and quality of training and service delivery to provide more effective psychological support to adults and children. The EQUIP platform makes competency assessment tools and e-learning courses freely available to support governments, training institutions, and non-governmental organizations, both in humanitarian and development settings.  The platform is designed to train and supervise people working in a variety of care settings to deliver effective mental health care. | EQUIP used a consensus-building approach including key stakeholders to develop  evidence-informed competency-based training materials and guidance, as well as competency assessment tools. These resources have been tested in Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, Peru, Uganda and Zambia, with results demonstrating improvements in groups that used the EQUIP platform. For example, use of EQUIP in Lebanon with children and adolescents led to an increased mastery of core helping skills compared to standard training approaches. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EQUIP field and project teams developed a range of e-learning courses to support teams transitioning from face-to-face support to digital, or remote, support. | Rozane El Masri, MPH, is a Research Manager at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Medicine interested in health systems, clinical research, project management, global mental health, and humanitarian health. Ms. El Masri was involved in the EQUIP project in Lebanon and will speak about her experiences working there.

October 11, 2023 at 2:00pm to 3:30pmMy Journey as an Advocate: The Global Mental Health Peer Network and Other Mental Health Advocacy Initiatives | Glenn Roil is a global award winning mental health advocate and a national basic income and poverty elimination advocate. He is the recipient of the 2022 Lionel Aldridge Champions Award from the United States of America. He is the first and only Canadian to be so honored with this international mental health award. He is a recipient of the 2021 NL's Human Rights Awards Champion for Mental Health from the Government of NL's Human Rights Commission. He is Co-chair of the Americas Region with the Global Mental Health Peer Network. He is Referral Partner and National Ambassador with the Stigma Zero Company which is an international workplace mental health company. Most recently, Glenn was appointed by Premier Andrew Fury and Minister of Health and Community Services, Tom Osbourne to the Mental Health Care and Treatment Board.  He spoke at the mental health and addictions rally at the Confederation Building in August on the record number of overdoses with the drug issue in NL. Glenn Roil has also received a certificate of recognition for my global and national exceptional leadership and commitment to mental health. |Glenn Roil has had his own mental health story and his national mental health advocacy profiled and published in the two different American Bioethics Medical Journals called Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics and Voices affiliated with John Hopkins University. He was one of the public faces for the Government of NL's mental health and addictions awareness campaign called Understanding Changes Everything that can be found on the Government of NL's Youtube channel, here:  When the All Party Committee on Mental Health and  Addictions, Glenn proposed to the Government of NL's Provincial Director of Mental Health and Addictions the idea of a walk-in mental health clinic.  The Doorways Walk-In Clinic Program was soon initiated with over 100 different sites across the province of NL. Glenn was also the NL representative with Canadian Mental Health Association National Council of Persons with Lived Experience for 5 years. He is on the Eastern Health Regional Ethics Committee for Mental Health and Addictions. Glenn Roil has received education and training in mental health first aid, suicide prevention and knowledge translation with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association National Office. His profile was featured by the St. John's Board of Trade in a publication about workplace mental health.   Glenn has spoken at a number of conferences and media outlets at the provincial, national and international levels. He currently serves or has served on a number of boards and committees in mental health including: the Community Coalition For Mental Health, Life Wise NL and PTSD Buddies. Glenn is a representative of NL on the Board of Directors of Canada Without Poverty. He has been involved with the Community Sector Council of NL's Vibrant Communities and the Citizen Voice Network. Glenn volunteers his time with the Janeway Foundation Telethon, Downtown St. John's Santa Claus Parade and the Rogers Rogers Moyse Christmas Community Dinner. 

November 3, 2023 at 12:30PM | Perinatal Mental Health with Dr. Archana Vidyasankar | The group will continue to discuss building capacity for perinatal mental health research in NL


March 28, 2023 |12:30pm to 2:00pm Newfoundland Island Time COMMUNITY SHOWCASE! Who is doing what and where to promote mental health and wellness in Newfoundland and Labrador?

The Research Exchange Group on Mental Health rolls out a new season of events by checking in to find out who is doing what and where in our community in support of mental health and wellness, including updates from our partners at  LifeWise, Bell Island Housing and Sobriety, Quadrangle, and  others.

April 19, 2023 at 2:30pm- 4:00pm NT | Building Momentum for Perinatal Mental Health Research in NL with Dr. Archana Vidyasankar.  This meeting will provide an opportunity to develop research potential on perinatal mental health to inform both a provincial perinatal mental health task force and to align with strategic priorities of the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance.  At the meeting, we will uncover who is working in the area and discuss research in progress, work to develop collaborative potential/ teams; discuss data holdings and data required to inform perinatal mental health research; look at specific research themes, including, but not limited to: substance use, stepped care, newcomer/new Canadian mental health/access to care. 


November 3, 2020 | Evaluating Mental Health and Addictions Services and Access in NL from the Perspectives of People with Lived Experience | John Abbott, CEO, CMHA-NL | This discussion provided an overview of a current reporting project being undertaken by Canadian Mental Health Association of NL to produce regular public reports that will benchmark and provide comment on the state of mental health and addictions and related services in NL. While there is a growing body of research data on the NL mental health and healthcare system, most provincial reports are written from the health system’s perspective. The CMHA-NL hopes to address what is missing— reporting by a third party independent of government and written from the perspectives of the community sector and people with lived experience. | Link to Presentation |

December 1, 2020 | On the Move: Mental Health, Work-Related Mobility, and the Construction Industry | Dr. Barb Neis, On the Move Partnership and Jackie Manuel, NL Construction Safety Association | Up to 16% of the Canadian labour force engages in extended/complex mobility to and sometimes within work. Construction is a huge sector in Canada employing millions of workers and extended/complex mobility pervades the sector. The On the Move Partnership is a multi-year, national scale research program with international links, investigating extended/complex mobility for work, and its consequences for workers, families, employers, communities, and Canadian municipal, provincial and federal governments. This talk focused on the findings of the partnership as they relate to the mental health impacts of mobile work with a focus on the construction sector. |

March 9, 2020 | Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC): Programs and Funding Opportunities for Research on Mental Health | Akela Peoples, CEO | Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) is a national, charitable organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of the 1 in 5 Canadians living with mental illness, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. They do this by advancing evidence-based mental health research that is problem-solving, cost-effective and usable in the real world. | Link to Presentation |

January 28, 2020 | Thinking Well: Post-Secondary Student Mental Wellness in Newfoundland and Labrador | Joshua Smee, Choices for Youth | Link to Presentation | Link to the Thinking Well Report |


October 22, 2019 | Home to Stay: Barriers in Mental Health and Addictions, Homelessness, and Poverty | Dr. Colleen Hanrahan; Lisa Browne, and Karen Noel, Stella’s Circle | At this special presentation, the presenters discussed the recent project, Home to Stay, that addressed interventions required to prevent homelessness among seniors with complex mental health needs, supporting their ability to age in place. The presentation included information about  a home modification pilot project, a Home Modification and Community Supports Toolkit and a new social enterprise, all with the goal to have seniors with complex mental health and addictions issues age within their communities. | Link to Presentation |

April 30, 2019 | Reducing the Incidence of Suicide among Indigenous Peoples Worldwide: Local Evidence for a Global Goal | Nathaniel Pollock, Graduate Student in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University | Suicide is a complex phenomenon that arises from a combination of biological, psychological, socio-economic, environmental, and historical factors. In Labrador, as in many regions across the circumpolar North, Indigenous communities have experienced elevated suicide rates for more than 30 years. In response, suicide prevention has become a leading public health priority for communities, healthy systems, and governments. This presentation discussed recent studies on suicide from a collaborative research project in Labrador that examined the incidence of suicide among Indigenous populations locally and globally. | Link to Presentation |

May 10, 2019 | Motherhood Experiences in Newfoundland & Labrador: A Survey to Inform Public Policy | Shannon Bedford and Emily Saunders | Presenters shared results of a large survey of motherhood that was undertaken as their part of their PsyD research project at Memorial University, which focused primarily on the experience of mothers here in the province. The survey looked at demographic differences between urban and rural mothers, mothers who have a partner who works away (mobile relationships), satisfaction with healthcare services, and other factors. |

March 28, 2019 | The Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry: Programs and Initiatives to Support Seniors' Mental Health in Canada | Drs. Kerri-Leigh Cassidy and Dallas Seitz of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry | Link to Presentation |


October 31, 2018 | Mental Wellness and Related Services: Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Social Development | Kaila deBoer, Director of Mental Wellness and Healing |

January 18, 2018 | Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) Suicide Prevention Initiatives | Karla Thorpe, MHCC | Link to Presentation | 

February 20, 2018 | Research on Resilience from the Wabanaki Two Spirit Alliance | John R. Sylliboy | The Alliance aims to conduct research that will inform the development of supports for mental health and resilience, suicide prevention, Two Spirit cultural identity and awareness. The document resulting from this will be used to heighten awareness and increase knowledge sharing among Aboriginal communities, tribal organizations, First Nations education institutions and the public at large. | Link to Presentation | Link to Research Report |

May 15, 2018  | Video Gaming Addictions | Dr. Nick Harris | Link to Presentation |


October 4, 2017 | Aging in Community: Perceptions from Stella’s Circle | Dr. Colleen Hanrahan, Keri Chambers, and Lisa Browne of Stella's Circle | Link to Presentation |

November 21, 2017 | Right Here, Right Now: A Women's Centered, Trauma Informed Drop-In Counselling Initiative | Dr. Catherine de Boer, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work and member of the Board of Directors of the St. John’s Status of Women Council | Link to Program Evaluation Report |  |

April 18, 2017 | Findings from the All Party Committee on Mental Health in NL | Colleen Simms, Department of Health & Community Services | Link to Presentation |


November 10, 2016 | Bridging the Divide: Nutrition and Mental Health Research Priorities in Canada |

October 24, 2016 | Informing Public Policy Development Through Research; Investigating Who Should be in Charge of Mental Health Services in Prisons | Dr. Colleen Hanrahan | Link to Presentation |

March 19, 2016 | CC4MH initiative—the Community Coalition for Mental Health | Mark Gruchy, Canadian Mental Health Association NL President and Independent Mental Health Columnist | Link to Article: The Independent NL |

March 4, 2016 | The Growing Epidemic of Adolescent Mental Illness: Is It Real? Can It Be Prevented? | Dr. Ian Coleman, Canada Research Chair (Tier II) Mental Health Epidemiology, University of Ottawa |

February 24, 2016 | Think Twice: CMHA Program for Challenging Mental Health Stigma in High Schools | Grant Fitzpatrick, Education Facilitator with Canadian Mental Health Association, NL Division |


October 27, 2015 | Mental Health & Addictions Emergency Services at Eastern Health | Link to Presentation |

May 28, 2015 | Innovating Online with Stepped Care: Towards a More Sustainable Model of Mental Healthcare Delivery | Dr. Peter Cornish, Associate Professor and Director, Memorial University Counselling Centre | The presentation provided an overview of a stepped care model based on an innovative mental health model developed in the UK which promises rapid access for face-to-face intake from mental health services within a primary care setting, followed by a systematic triage and monitoring system. |

May 8, 2015 | NLCHI resources for Mental Health Researchers | Michele Butler and Kerry LeFresne | The presenters provided an overview of data sources available to researchers through the NL Centre for Health Information. |

April 7, 2015 | Navigators and Networks (NAVNET) | Lisa Zigler, MSW RSW, Project Coordinator | Navigators and Networks is an initiative to address system barriers affecting individuals with multiple and complex needs in St. John’s. | | Link to Presentation  |


December 3, 2014 | Challenges to Recovery in Early Psychosis: Implications of Recovery Rate and Timing | Dr. Joy Maddigan and Dr. Kellie LeDrew, Eastern Health | Link to Presentation |

October 31, 2014 | Community Treatment Orders | Nicole Snow |

May 15, 2014 | Lessons Learned from a Pilot Project at Central Health: Mental Health in the Workplace | Heather Hynes, Central Health | Link to Presentation |

April 15, 2014 | An Introduction to The Social-Clinical Interface and its Relevance to Stigma and Bias in Mental Health | Sally Payne, Memorial University | Link to Presentation |

March 15, 2014 | Housing and Mental Health | Dr. Chava Finkler | Link to Presentation |