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Our History

Founded in 1918, CMHA is one of the oldest voluntary organizations in Canada. Since its beginnings, CMHA has worked to promote the mental health of all people and to provide services for individuals with mental illness, their families and friends. CMHA proudly continues to change to meet society’s evolving mental health needs.

Today, CMHA has organizational representation in every province and territory, and 135 branches in communities of all sizes, both urban and rural, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

At organizational levels, through a strong network of staff and volunteer support, CMHA strives to achieve its vision of mentally healthy people in a healthy society.

On the evening of March 16, 1971, a group of people gathered at City Hall in Windsor to discuss one issue – Windsor and Essex County was in serious need of local mental health services. This was the very first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor – Essex County Branch.

There was a real demand for community-based mental health services. With mass de-institutionalization of psychiatric patients, many people were released from the provincial institutions with nowhere to go. These people needed mental health care and preferred it close to their homes and families.

This original Board of Directors knew of the need for community mental health services in the area. Funding was sparse, but because of the determination of pioneers like the original Board members, the Windsor-Essex County Branch of CMHA was formed.

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