Our History

One of Canada’s Oldest Non-Profits

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is one of the oldest national, charitable organizations in Canada and the oldest national mental health charity. CMHA was founded in 1918 by Dr. Clarence M. Hincks, Dr. Charles K. Clarke, and Clifford W. Beers as the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene. The original goals of the organization centred around war recruits, mental examination of post-war immigrants, prevention, and support for adequate facilities and care for the treatment of mental illness.

Dr. Hincks became director of the association in 1924. His personal experience with depression and empathy for others with mental illness, coupled with a profound knowledge of medicine and early twentieth-century psychological developments in Europe revolutionized the conditions and treatment of mental health patients in Canada.

CMHA is uniquely positioned in Canada as a charity that brings together experience and expertise on community-based mental health promotion and support for people with mental illnesses. We are unique not only in our approach but also in our ability to speak to a broad range of issues surrounding mental health and mental illness.

CMHA – Cowichan Valley Branch

Our branch was officially incorporated in 1992 and strives to promote mentally healthy people in a healthy society. The primary focus of this organization, are the rights and needs of persons involved in the mental health system.