Day 1 Description
9:45AM – 10:40AM KEYNOTE PANEL Joanne Pocock, PhD
Gustavo Turecki, MD PhD
Thierry Lindor from “Colors of Covid”
Tania Callender, ACDPN

10:40AM – 10:50AM BREAK
10:50AM – 11:00AM PRESENTATION James Carter, CHSSN
Anne Usher
Syeda Nayab Bukhari, PhD
Erica Botner, CHSSN
CAREGIVERS Zelda Freitas
Tony Alfonso, AMI-Québec
YOUTH 13-18 Canadian Mental Health Association Montreal
Karen Allen

YOUNG ADULTS Chrystal & Faye Assee
David Robinson
EARLY YEARS – FAMILIES Dr. Tina Montreuil – McGill prof & C.A.R.E.
Anne-Marie Cech, CHSSN

SPECIAL NEEDS Kristy Findlay, M.Sc. O(C)
Dr. Guylaine Vaillancourt

Presenter bios

Karen Allen

Karen Allen has been a full-time guidance counsellor for over 20 years at Westmount High School. She has worked with the adolescent population in both the education and health sectors and has supported students dealing with a variety of mental health issues for her entire career. She has witnessed the impact of the pandemic first-hand on the mental health of her students and will provide case examples and concerning trends which she and her fellow guidance counsellors are dealing with during this unique year.

Tony Alfonso

Tony Alfonso is the outreach coordinator at AMI Quebec. He has a masters in Youth Work and focus on getting as many people talking about mental health as possible through presentations, workshops and conversations to reduce stigma.

Chrystal & Faye Assee

Both Faye and Chrystal Assee work with teenagers and young adults with mental health difficulties ranging from anxiety to depression and various crisis situations. During COVID-19, they offered a 6-month long free counseling service related to the difficulties with the pandemic.

Many of the difficulties had to do with anticipatory anxiety, stress, and social-relational difficulties related to lockdown measures. These measures really impacted this cohort that has a very high need for socialization, this increased distress, loneliness, and depression for many of the young adult population we serve.

All of our services have been streamlined to online services which did not negatively impact access to services, in fact, it increased access to receiving counseling mental health support. Our organization uses psychology, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to help all clients deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Chrystal is a mental health professional and has been working in the field of mental health for 20 years, having worked with various populations and agencies after 15 years she decided with her identical twin sister to open their own company called Yogalogy. Faye is a Social Worker and has been working in the field for 20 years, having worked with various populations and agencies.

Chrystal is also a trained yoga teacher, and therapist as well as a meditation teacher combining all these modalities into clinical practice to help clients with mental health difficulties. Faye is also a trained yoga teacher, and therapist, combining all these modalities into clinical practice to help clients with mental health difficulties.

Erica Botner

Erica is the founder of Recreotherapy, a social enterprise that provides innovative approaches to Therapeutic Recreation service delivery highlighting the impact of meaningful and purposeful activities and experiences for optimal living and aging. We design, implement, and evaluate programs, services, events, and products. We provide education and training, collaborate in applied research, and coach and consult with health care teams to integrate principles of therapeutic recreation into their regular practice. Our social mission is to enhance optimal living and aging, advocate for the profession of therapeutic recreation, provide student learning opportunities and jobs for new professionals, and ultimately, to change the narrative of disability, aging, dementia and caregiving.

Syeda Nayab Bukhari

Syeda Nayab Bukhari earned her doctorate from the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University, BC. Currently, she is pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University. She is also co-leading and coordinating the Telehealth Intervention Program for Older Adults (TIP-OA). Having expertise in research, project management, knowledge translation, and networking for community-based programs for older adults and other groups, she has worked in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. Her areas of interest include race, class, and gender relations, immigration studies, ethnic media, and community-based program development for disadvantaged groups. Syeda has published single-authored- as well as co-authored articles, reports, and book chapters in her areas of interest.

Tania Callender

While she studied business administration and economics and started her career in the corporate sector, Tania Callender has been involved in the community and non profit sector for the last eight years. She began as a volunteer and worked as the Administrator until 2015 when she became the Executive Director of The African Canadian Development and Prevention Network(ACDPN). ACDPN fosters solidarity and inter-organizational collaboration across sectors that influence the health and wellness of the Black community in Montreal. Given the double minority status of the English-speaking Black Community(ESBC), we advocate for access to health, social and educational programs that are adapted both linguistically and culturally. She is the mother of two young boys and is inspired to advocate for changes in the system that will have a positive impact not only for the community today but for future generations as well.

James Carter

Senior Program and Policy Advisor
James Carter is the Program and Policy Advisor at the CHSSN. He has been with the organization since its founding in 2000. His main role is to support the CHSSN staff team in program design and implementation. He also provides advice on the management of CHSSN’s program relationships with the Quebec and federal governments.

Kristina (Kristy) Findlay

Kristy Findlay is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in support for bilingual and multilingual families. She is the co-founder of the Centre Mosaïque de Québec in Quebec City. The clinic was founded with a mandate to connect with community organizations to ensure that anglophone and multilingual families receive the support and resources they need concerning communication disorders. Ms. Findlay has extended that mandate across the eastern regions of the province, providing services to English speaking and first nations communities in Gaspesie, Baie des Chaleurs, and Sept Îles. She strongly believes in empowering local providers by providing them with knowledge and tools to support the families in their communities. In addition to her passionate drive to support multilingualism, Ms. Findlay has been active in research since 2008, including several publications and presentations in national and international conferences.

Zelda Freitas

Zelda Freitas is a Social Worker with extensive experience in the delivery of psychosocial care to older adults in loss of autonomy. As a research-practitioner and coordinator of the area of expertise in caregiving at the Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology (CREGÉS), she engages in the research, development, knowledge transfer and implementation of evidence-based practices related to psychosocial and interdisciplinary intervention in caregiving, palliative care, and bereavement.

Thierry Lindor

Thierry Lindor is a young entrepreneur, Canadian G20 YEA & UN Delegate; he’s won numerous awards through the success of his latest ventures, Influence ORB & Mindful, which included collaborations with Nobel peace prize laureates, Malala & Vice President Al Gore, to name a few. In 2018, he won the Black Tech Matters “Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year” award in Washington DC. He was recently recognized at the United Nations as one of the Global Top 100 under 40 most Influential people of African Descent, an honor he shared with Naomi Osaka, Drake & Meghan Markle to name a few. Today, he launched a “Canadian Civil rights movement” by creating a platform called “Colors Of COVID” which collects race-based data while helping to raise $221M with the Federal Government and the private sector to support Canadian Entrepreneurs of African descent.

Tina Montreuil

Dr. Tina Montreuil is an Assistant Professor in the department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and an Associate Member of the department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She is also a Regular Investigator of the Research Unit of Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP) at McGill. As a licensed member of the Quebec Order of Psychologists and a credentialed member of the Canadian Association of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies, she practices privately with children and family, focusing on cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness approaches. She has published in several peer‐reviewed journals and has been a lecturer at several international conferences. In 2013, Dr. Montreuil was awarded the title of “Champion” in Mental Health in the “Research” category from the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and was more recently included in the top 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health by CAMH Difference Makers.

Dr. Montreuil’s current research focuses on investigating the role of emotion regulation, attitudes, and beliefs on the development and intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and how symptoms of mental health problems might interfere with self-regulated learning in a group context and ultimately, educational achievement. Mediators and moderators of emotion regulation and resiliency such as the role of parental socialization of emotions on the use of emotion regulation strategies in children are also investigated. In addition to the universal emotion regulation school-based program called Healthy Minds, Healthy Schools, C.A.R.E. Research Group has developed a complementary parenting program called Parenting C.A.R.E. In addition to promoting mental health literacy, much of Dr. Montreuil’s Research Group activities focus on advocating for the implementation of School-Based Mental Health practices and philosophies. She is currently a member of a number of regional and provincial working groups whose primary aim is to define how to implement and promote mental health and well-being in schools.

Joanne Pocock, PhD

Dr. Joanne Pocock is a sociologist with expertise in policy analysis, evaluation and multi-method research techniques who has devoted much of her academic and research career to the study of Quebec’s English-speaking minority communities. Her efforts have contributed to a body of knowledge supporting organizations serving the interests of minority language communities in various sectors and at national, provincial and regional levels. As a research consultant, Dr. Pocock supports CHSSN by studying the socio-demographic characteristics of English-speaking Quebec as well as health and social service access as a key social determinant of health and well-being.

David Robinson

David Robinson

David Robinson (he/him) is a community worker, and an active listening volunteer at Vent Over Tea. He has facilitated workshops on loneliness and togetherness, active listening, and hosts a monthly intergenerational conversation on death and dying using the Death Cafe model.

Gustavo Turecki MD PhD

Gustavo Turecki MD PhD is a clinician scientist whose work focuses on understanding brain molecular changes that occur in major depression and molecular processes that explain treatment response. In addition, his work aims to elucidate the neurobiological basis of the suicidal brain. Dr. Turecki is Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide. He is the Scientific Director of the Douglas Institute and the Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, a multidisciplinary suicide research group that comprises the Douglas Bell- Canada Brain Bank.

Dr. Turecki has conducted pioneering research which has led to our understanding of how traumatic life experiences impacts brain gene function and increases long-term risk for suicide by epigenetically regulating critical genes involved in stress responses and behavioral development. He has authored over 500 publications, including research articles in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, and Lancet. His work has been cited over 40,000 times (h-index 102) and he is among the 2020 most highly cited scientists in his field. Dr. Turecki’s contributions to the field have also been recognized through more than 30 awards. He serves, or has served, in the advisory boards of several scientific journals, and international scientific institutes.

Dr. Turecki is also an engaged clinician and heads the Depressive Disorders Program at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, where he treats patients with refractory major depressive disorder.

Guylaine Vaillancourt

Dr. Guylaine Vaillancourt is an Associate Professor in Music Therapy and Chair of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Concordia University. She holds a Master degree from New York University and a PhD in Leadership and Change in the Professions from Antioch University. Music therapist for the last 30 years, she has worked in mental health, palliative care, and oncology. She is a fellow and primary trainer of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery of Music.

Anne Usher






Anne is a nurse by profession and a long time activist in community development in Notre Dame de Grace district of Montreal and beyond. She has been part of the steering committee of the Community Network Table and its Forums since 2006.