Vernon, BC – The Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon & District is experiencing significant growth as the need for mental health support increases and evolves.

CMHA Vernon held its annual general meeting Sept. 26, 2023, and it was an opportunity to review the organization’s activities during 2022/23.

“Programs and services have expanded greatly, ensuring more individuals have access to mental health supports and services in a timely manner in our community,” said Jodi Cunningham, chair of CMHA Vernon’s board of directors.

“The team has also grown significantly, and it is an honor to see the commitment and dedication of the individuals who serve our community so passionately, with integrity and compassion, creating space for all.

Among the highlights from 2022/23 are:

  • Opening of Albert Place II, a 29-unit, multi-generational housing complex.
  • Expansion of Care2Speak, a free and confidential support to health and community care workers in B.C.
  • Increased participation in the national crisis line network.
  • Establishing a partnership with recovery centers to facilitate employment services.
  • Opening of the Youth Integrated Services Hub, which assists youth and families navigating mental health.

“We are seeing these visions come to fruition because of the hard work of our staff, volunteers and board, and the support of our community” said Julia Payson, CMHA Vernon executive director.

“We embrace these visions because that’s what our clients need and want. We are committed to the people we serve. We also want to acknowledge the North Okanagan community for the support it provides CMHA.”

Looking ahead to 2023/24, CMHA Vernon will continue to advocate for the safety, security, and wellness of all individuals in the community.

“I am proud to stand with this organization as we challenge stigma and historical attitudes that negatively impact our society. I have no doubt CMHA Vernon will continue to create positive


changes within our community through the leadership and advocacy that are developed throughout our program and service offering,” said Cunningham.

During the meeting, Taylor Sheardown, a lawyer at Davidson Lawyers, was elected to the CMHA board as a new director.

Sheardown joins Cunningham, as well as directors Kyle Camalush, Tom Christensen, Richard Finn, Jennifer Guscott, Tom Nolan, David Penner, Dominic Scorah, Marilyn Scott, and David Service.

Two directors retired from the board after many years of service. Scott DeLong stepped down from the board after seven years of service, and Twylla Genest retired from the board after nine years. Genest served as secretary of the board for many of those years and was recognized for her extensive contribution to the society.

“We want to thank Scott and Twylla for their commitment to the organization and their passion and thoughtfulness will be missed,” said Cunningham.

Also, during the AGM, there was a presentation on crisis line services by Mark Fossen, team lead for crisis intervention and prevention.

To learn more about CMHA Vernon, visit


CUTLINE INFORMATION: Executive director Julia Payson speaks about the strong support CMHA receives from North Okanagan residents during the organization’s annual general meeting Sept. 26. (CMHA Vernon photo)


For more information, contact:

Richard Rolke, Fund Development & Communications Manager

CMHA Vernon

250-542-3114  [email protected]

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