OPDI Board Members
Yvette Brook - President
Yvette Brook is relatively new to the work of OPDI and Board membership. Born in England, she has always had a passion for ‘giving back’ to her community and over the years has volunteered in a variety of community sectors. Mental Health has always been on her radar, both as a consumer during her younger years and as a family member during both her childhood and adulthood.
A Microsoft trainer and Health & Safety professional by trade, Yvette brings a wide variety of skills and a great deal of positivity and enthusiasm to any role she takes on. Along with her professional qualifications and networking skills, her strength lies in understanding the bigger strategic picture and working the steps to reach that vision. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Patient/Client & Family Council (PCFC) located in Midland/Penetanguishene. The PCFC is a non-profit consumer run organization that advocates for a Mental Health Community, guided by the experience of its users, where everyone is supported to cope, heal and thrive beyond Mental Illness.
Yvette is also the Chair of the Ontario Association of Patient Councils (OAPC), a member of the Ontario Family Caregivers Advisory Network and the LHIN 12 Crises and Community Resources Committee.
Dylan De La Riviere - Treasurer
Dylan is a long-time grass-roots volunteer attracted to the opportunity OPDI provides to meet people with similar interests and, especially, to advance the value and presence of peer support. He studied philosophy and literature at University of Toronto and continues to bring that passionately critical and humanist approach to his work. When not riding his bicycle inordinate distances, he enjoys reading, watching movies and wearing funny hats. He currently volunteers with the Participants’ Council of North York General.
Moira Wheeler - Secretary
Moira Wheeler has over 30 years of lived experience which she has used to assist others in their recovery toward mental health. She served as a board of directors for six years at her local Peer Initiative. Moira has worked as a Peer Support Worker at a community mental health agency and with women recovering from domestic violence. Both allowed her to use her lived experience as a means of assisting others in their recovery; “this has brought meaning and purpose to my own Life experience.”
Moira holds a college diploma in Human Resource Management and is a past recipient of the Peer of the Year Lighthouse award. During years of self-study in the areas of nutrition and intestinal health and the impact these have on mental health, her focus changed and she currently works part time at a North Bay Wellness Center which applies these principals as a path to optimum health.
Donna Forget – Past President
Donna and her two sons relocated to North Bay, Ontario in 1997 seeking a new direction in her life following ten years in the Banking Industry preceded by eight years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces. Shortly after arriving Donna completed a work placement with the OPP North East Regional Headquarters and the North Bay Psychiatric Hospitals Dual Diagnoses Program.
In 2000 through encouragement from Cathy Burns the North East Regional Abuse Issues Coordinator with the OPP, Donna began speaking publicly to tell her story in hopes of helping police officers and social workers better understand the struggles and challenges of women being abused in their own homes. This was the true beginning of Donna’s healing journey and fired a passion to enlighten, lead and support women into healing their lives on a broader scale. Thus was born the desire for the True Self Debwewendizwin Program.
In 2006 Donna was successful in writing a proposal to the Ontario Women’s Directorate to secure project funding through Nipissing First Nation; True Self / Debwewendizwin Program officially opened its doors in January 2007 and Donna has been employed as the Program Coordinator since.
Donna has taken advantage of a broad range of continuous learning activities through facilitation and knowledge exchange workshops and seminars with a focus on mental wellness, women’s health, domestic violence, and human resources issues. She has also been active in various organizations at the governance level including People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health, the Local Training and Adjustment Board; North Bay Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee; ODSP Local Planning and Coordination Group; AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area; and the North Bay Psychiatric Hospital Volunteer Association.
Currently Donna sits as Board Chair with the Ontario Peer Development Initiative, Chair of the Nipissing University Aboriginal Council on Education, Member at Large of the Nipissing University Board of Governors and Member of Canadore College Aboriginal Council on Education.
Donna’s greatest joy is spending time with her family at her cottage in Northern Quebec and especially loves being Granny to her three young grandsons.
A high school teacher by profession, Heather has been passionate about public mental health education for the last fifteen years, first as a presenter and then as coordinator with CMHA Ottawa’s Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) program.
She was honoured to be appointed project manager for CMHA National’s Mental Health and High School Curriculum Pilot Project, which took her to four cities across Canada, and new career heights. Heather’s personal ambition is to see mandatory mental health literacy for all students and teachers.
She’s interested in spreading awareness of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan beyond consumers to the general public, and surviving her father’s suicide has fueled her work towards creating suicide-safer communities and supporting other survivors. Heather’s next project? Piloting a peer support warmline with Mood Disorders Ottawa. Stay tuned.....
On a lighter note, she enjoyed being on the airwaves for almost 10 years as host of Sound Mind radio at CKCU, and now has fun working with clients at Ottawa Salus housing and doing Stand Up for Mental Health whenever an audience appears!
Heather is the proud and somewhat perplexed mom of a teenage son, is a Capricorn, and has an obsessive-compulsive relationship with chocolate Tim Bits.
Barbara has a background in Business and Volunteer Management. She has over 20 years’ experience in the mental health system as a user of service, a volunteer, a research assistant. Currently, Barbara is the Director for Peer Support Groups and Workshops for CONNECT for Mental Health Inc. Previous to that she was the Regional Director of the South Western Alliance Network (SWAN). Barbara maintains membership on a number of community boards and committees. She serves on the Board of Addictions Services Thames Valley; was a member of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addictions Programs – Mental Health Council; Director on the Patients’ Council of Regional Mental Health Care London/St. Thomas; and has served as an executive member of the Ontario Association of Patient Councils. Barbara is a provincial trainer for the Core Essentials Peer Support training program as well as one of the seven provincial trainers for the Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support project. Barbara has training in Intentional Peer Support as Alternatives to Crisis and is an Advanced Level Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator. She was recently involved in a four month demonstration project as a Peer Supporter/Peer Navigator in the Emergency Department of London Health Sciences Centre. Barbara has received two distinguished awards, the Ontario Peer Support Initiatives’ Lighthouse Award and the Ontario Addiction and Mental Health’s President Shield Award for outstanding contribution in the field of addiction and mental health. Barbara’s mantra is “Nothing about Us, Without Us”. Most importantly, Barbara has five children and three beautiful granddaughters.
No biography available.
Alise De Bis
Alise de Bie is a crazy person that lives with wonderful neighbours in the east end of Hamilton. They are a PhD candidate at McMaster University (focused on Mad Knowing, Teaching, and Learning) where they create community with fellow mad, disabled, service using, and psychiatry surviving student peers through the Hamilton Mad Students Collective and other groups. They are very passionate about accessible education (people with mental health stuff and disabilities should be able to go school, be welcomed and well supported, and learn useful things!) and bringing consumer/survivor and peer support knowledge into the academy in a way that doesn’t feel gross or result in theft/erasure/exploitation. Favourite present/pastimes include: baking, biking, building blanket forts, borrowing library books, growing purple plant babies, discussing trips to alternate realities, delivering the neighbourhood newspaper, and listening to Netflix while washing dishes. They are grateful for their network of lunatikin/crazykin.
Kelly Gottschling has been employed as a senior manager in several areas of social services since 1996. She has been employed by three Ministries. Kelly has completed several years of post-secondary education in business management, developmental services, child development, and autism spectrum disorders. She has been employed as Executive Director of the Mental Health Network for 14 years. She also has received several certifications in mental health and addictions, autism, deaf blind Intervention, early childhood education and developmental disabilities studies.
She has taught dual diagnosis at St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology and wrote a Healthy Living article for the Chatham Daily News for many years.
She now specializes in mental health recovery and is a strong advocate who speaks across the province about stigma and inclusion. Kelly founded three not for profit organizations in her career. Her expertise has been requested by the Human Rights Commission. She has spoken before the House of Commons on a joint committee of mental Health and addictions.
She is the chair of the Provincial Consumer Survivor LHIN Leads.
Kelly was born and raised in Chatham Kent and lives near her three adult children and two grandchildren.
Contact Board of Directors by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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Stronger Peer Groups Make for a Stronger System
To deliver person-directed care within a person-centred mental health system, consumers must be involved in every aspect of service planning, delivery and evaluation. Our member-run organizations give people opportunities to develop transferable meeting, governance and systemic advocacy skills.