Making a difference by informing public policy
Dr, Nancy Hall was a health researcher, educator, and most importantly, a friend and a voice for those living with mental illness. She had the courage and conviction to expect governments and communities to do the right thing for their citizens.
Nancy was a long-time friend and advocate of CMHA BC. With encouragement from our organization and others, she applied for and became BC’s first and only Mental Health Advocate to be appointed by a Minister of Health in BC. Nancy took the 18 month position in August 1998; when the position ended in 2001 so did systems advocacy within a government context.
This endowment fund is named in her honour. Dr. Nancy Hall brought a strong voice to CMHA BC by speaking out on issues, assisting with policy papers, presenting at inquiries and being available as a trusted advisor. Her energy was tireless and her enthusiasm was infectious. Her work as the province’s Mental Health Advocate brought to light the challenges and inequities faced by those living with mental illness, with an approach grounded squarely in the lived experience of the individuals she worked with. She was key advisor, consultant, and friend to CMHA BC for more than 15 years and passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer. Her strength and perspective, as well as her remarkable contributions, live on through the Dr. Nancy Hall Speaking Up Speaking Out Fund.
In 2011, the CMHA BC Board approved an initial investment of $50,000 for the establishment of the Dr. Nancy Hall Speaking Up Speaking Out Endowment Fund, with a commitment to growing the endowment to $1 million. The Fund supports CMHA’s continued work in public policy and systemic advocacy at the provincial level, and provides an informed independent voice on the impact of the public mental health system on the lives of people with mental illness and substance use problems and their families.
Through additional investments made by CMHA BC and from generous public donations, this fund now totals $175,044 (as at March 31st, 2016).
In honour of Dr. Nancy Hall’s legacy, CMHA also administers an annual provincial award. The Dr. Nancy Hall Award for Public Policy Leadership recognizes an individual or group in BC that has influenced mental health policy and contributed to positive mental health. The award recipient is chosen each year by the Directors of CMHA BC and honoured at their annual meeting with a $500 gift designated for the recipient’s charity of choice.