The Times They Are A Changin’

Peter Coleridge and Change at CMHA

The 100 year anniversary of the CMHA is fast approaching in 2018 and Peter Coleridge, CMHA CEO says change needs to come to the organization to keep pace with our changing country and communities.

The CMHA is in the midst of a national strategic planning process and Coleridge is looking for broad based contributions from across the CMHA.  He called for time, expertise and resources to build the impact of the CMHA on the community and on policy makers.

“We need to work to link messages to policy and program over the next few years.”

That clarion call was based on the acknowledgments of current progress, with a long way to go in certain areas.

The first step is to build a unified national voice and Coleridge says the role of the CMHA on policy has been diminished and, “we need to be out there provincially and nationally.”

Reasons for the lack of focus include: no strategic plan (CMHA staff and members you have a role to play in building the new plan!);  not leveraging strengths (more communication through the organization is needed); and develop a national fundraising plan (job #1 – because nothing else happens without financial resources).

“We are at a good point right now, but we need to build on strengths to create a new beginning:

–          Unique capacity in Canada

–          The ‘Framework for Support’ document, important and valuable and should be underpinning the work of the CMHA

–          Truly national organization – Imagine our ability

“We want to stay in the game, just change the plan.”

As people involved in the CMHA Coleridge hopes the message of planning change has a foundational knowledge, the Strategic Plan is NOT a ‘national office plan but an organization plan.

Expect the plan to not change the ‘what’ of the organization, but focus and refine the mission and function.  Look for change in how the CMHA works, and that change will require time effort and expertise from people across the CMHA.

The change process is expected to be measured and take 3-5 years.  The hope of the change is a strong and unified organization for the 100 year anniversary in 2018.

The CMHA is looking to articulate the link between mental health and human rights on the national stage, influence governments on  providing formal services to the people with mental health needs and make mental health an explicit part of the national and provincial health agendas.

Coleridge wants to hear from the people involved in CMHA about change.  Email him with one thing he can do as a leader and one thing you can do as a CMHA individual at


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