Diane MacDougall is the current executive director for the Society. A solid background and many years’ experience in management and fund development in the non government sector and in senior sales and marketing. She has had the privilege of working for causes that have special meaning to her, beginning with the Nova Scotia SPCA Provincial Office, to the Mental Health Foundation, 4-H Nova Scotia and currently SSNS. Diane has experience as a family member and has been talking about schizophrenia for over 30 years, only professionally since September 2015.
This past year the direction from the Board was and is financial sustainability achievable through our Strategic Plan. Many months were spent developing a case for support, researching funding sources, crafting the message to meet the criteria for different opportunities, and designing the work going forward to meet the greater needs of the people the Society serves. We continue to build relationships with stakeholders and partners and source new streams of revenue to build a future for the organization with reserves. This work and relationships take years to develop, we are on a good path to a sustainable future. The Society moved from the basement of ECPurdy at the Nova Scotia Hospital through shared cost savings with self Help Connection and a lovely relationship with Southview Property Management as they donate back quarterly.
Partial funding was secured through the Department of Health with the Province of Nova Scotia allowing SSNS to develop a One to One Peer Support Program and to build Caldy Grange Supportive Housing Program. The results we will show through evaluations and reporting which I feel confident will ensure future funding from the Province. This funding is complimented by a wonderful relationship with Otsuka Lundbeck Alliance who provide a significant amount of funding year over year since Fall 2015 and are supporting the One to One Peer Support in 2017-18. Janssen Canada was our presenting sponsor at this years Conference November 3 at the Lord Nelson Hotel and have supported the Society for many years through donations and sponsorship.
SSNS continues with the Family Support Groups (HRM, Pictou County, Sydney, Inverness and Richmond County), SSNS Kings County Chapter, From Recovery to Discovery Peer Support Group, a new Voice Hearers Group funded by the Mental Health Foundation and partnered with Self Help Connection and Healthy Minds Cooperative led by Laura Burke. A new project funded by Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage with the Province and launched at AGM June 2017, Mindful Art enabled SSNS to host monthly events, it was a wonderful fun project. I am proud to be working with an amazing team here at the Society, Adrienne, Chad, Laura, Anna and a team of peer supporters, a great relationship with Self Help Connection in shared space/resources and amazing partner organizations like CMHA Halifax Dartmouth, Healthy Minds and Laing House.
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Adrienne Power joined the team at SSNS, October 2017. She brings to the society, program and group development, peer support management, community outreach and a wealth of experience in the mental health field with Laing House and Phoenix Youth over the years.
Laura Burke is a peer support facilitator with SSNS with From Recovery to Discovery Group and is developing a structured 10 week workshop for a Voice Hearers Group in Halifax. She has developed a workplace education workshop about schizophrenia and psychosis and delivered to Peopleworx in Kentville this past year. Laura Burke is drama therapist, certified counselor, researcher, and public speaker.
She also works in creative knowledge translation and mobilization. She moonlights as a poet, playwright and actor who uses the arts as a means of advocating for those affected by mental illness. Laura lives in Halifax with a community of good friends, and 5 urban chickens.
Chad Foulkes was working with the Society during a time of transition through his internship with the Dalhousie School of Social Work. He was with the Society from September until March 2018, during his time he not only accomplished his learning objectives and goals but went the extra mile helping out wherever and whenever he could.
Chad joined the team through the Graduate to Opportunity Program and is now managing the Supportive Housing Program. Chad has a passion for the organization through his family experience and recently graduated with his BSW from Dalhousie University.
Anna Quon recently joined the team of SSNS using her creative genius for posters and other pieces, she is one of the peer support workers and is assisting with the administrative work.
Anna is a tremendous supporter of the Society through her generous donations like her design of last years Colouring Calendar and this year has designed a series of Greeting Cards. Anna has a number of paintings for sale at 5571 Cunard Street in Halifax.
Alan McGrath, Chris O’Halloran, Derick Young, and Gillian MacDonald are all offering peer support in community through the Society and in groups. We have training in partnership with Self Help Connection, and MHI/Peer Support Nova Scotia. Anna has many years training and experience, Alan has been co facilitating From Recovery to Discovery for the past 3 years and Chris and Derrick have been co facilitating Voice Hearers under the direction of Laura Burke and Gillian is currently enrolled in the training with MHI/Peer Support NS. All are currently developing WRAP plans through training with Self Help Connection.
SSNS is so thankful for all of the dedicated volunteers, we rely on their tremendous generosity and commitment to helping people, time is the most valuable commodity.