Mental Health on the Prairies Virtual Conference and Community Conversation

Jordin Tootoo Community Talk – “Inclusivity Matters”

Michael Ungar Community Talk – “Nurturing Resilience Through a Strong Community”

World Café

October 20th, 21st, & 28th, 2021
Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Mental health problems directly affect approximately one in five Canadians every year (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2013). In Manitoba, alone, there were 262 reported suicide attempts for every 100,000 Manitobans in the past five years and 28 % of adults were diagnosed with at least one of four mental health problems or addictions in the same period (Chartier et al., 2018). Mental health problems and addictions have many symptoms but they hold in common their effects on individuals, their families, coworkers and communities. They affect, and are affected by, the workplace, home, and community. Although people of all ages live with mental health challenges and addictions, some groups are more affected because of poorer access to resources and because of how society views them. Helping Canadians successfully manage these problems requires involvement from local communities and all groups involved in providing support. It is important that the support from all groups comes from understanding the personal experiences and needs of people with mental health and addiction problems. Because any individual experiencing mental health and addiction problems affects so many people around them, communities need to find solutions by learning from anyone who understands and works with people living with mental health problems and addictions.


The overarching goal of the Mental Health on the Prairies Virtual Conference and Community Conversation is to increase the use and usefulness of mental health research on the Canadian Prairies. To do this, the event has three specific objectives:

  1. To provide a forum for different forms of knowledge sharing between academics, professionals working in health and social care, educators, community groups, and people with lived experience of mental health and addictions;
  2. Increase access and participation in knowledge exchange, particularly among groups that typically do not have a voice in the discussion;
  3. Provide a catalyst for future university-community knowledge co-creation and use.

To meet these objectives, the event will include a series of keynote presentations, lived experience panel, presentations from researchers from across Canada, and a virtual world café.

Keynote presenters will include Dr. Michael Ungar (Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University) and Jordin Tootoo (first Inuk NHL hockey player, founder of the Team Tootoo Foundation). To increase access and participation in knowledge exchange, the first evening of the conference will also feature a public talk about suicide prevention and awareness. This talk will draw in a larger and more diverse crowd. During the first day of the meetings, participants will hear Jordin Tootoo’s talk on why “Inclusivity Matters”, hear from a lived experience panel, and participate in a Q&A session with the researchers that submitted presentations that can be accessed throughout the conference. On the second day, participants will engage in a workshop on “Nurturing Resilience Through a Strong Community” with Dr, Michael Ungar and the meeting will conclude with a World Café lunch where participants will discuss community challenges and solutions to mental health promotion and maintenance on the Prairies. Ultimately, the event will draw together the experts on the ground with academic experts across the country to share knowledge and engage in critical conversations about community-based mental health research and solutions. Visit the Program page for more information about the conference schedule.

Visit the Guest Speakers page for more information.


We are excited to see you in the fall
for the Mental Health on the Prairies Virtual Conference
and Community Conversation!

More information and announcements will be posted on the conference website in the coming months along with program details and conference registration process. We are encouraging you to check the website regularly.

For more information, please contact