Friends for Mental Health is a bilingual non-profit organization in the West Island of Montreal. Our mission is to help individuals and families better cope with their loved one’s mental health issue. The services that we offer include counseling, support groups, art therapy, respite activities, mindfulness, conferences and more.
Our goal is to listen, counsel, and provide information based on the most current research and best practices, enabling families to better cope with their loved one’s mental health issues.
Our organization prides itself on being able to quickly respond to the ever-changing needs of our community. We work in collaboration with a variety of health care professionals and providers in order to provide the best possible support and resources to our clientele.
On October 6th, 1981, a small group of parents met to plan the beginning of a self-help group for relatives and friends of individuals who had a mental illness. Their mission was to address the lack of adequate support and services for individuals with mental health issues and their families in the West Island. They compensated for their lack of money, office space and staff members with their tireless vision, creativity and dedication. From the beginning, guest speakers were invited to share their expertise, and members of the group encouraged and supported one another.
For the first nine years, this group, called Friends for Mental Health, survived solely on donations. Then, in 1990, they began receiving funds from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (formerly known as Centraide) and the Régie Régionale de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (RRSSS). An office was opened, staff members were hired and a respite program was created.
A major change came in 1996 with the implementation of the Family Support Program. This began as a joint project with Community Perspective in Mental Health (CPMH) when some services offered by the hospital were redistributed into the community. Two years later, Friends for Mental Health completely took over and professional counselors were able to provide psychosocial services to families in need.
By 2001, Creative Workshops began taking shape and gaining popularity, which was an innovative new way to help family members cope with their loved one’s mental health issue.
In June of 2005, Friends for Mental Health was the winner in the Non Profit Organization Working in Social Economy category for the Accolades prize organized by the West Island Chamber of Commerce. Then, the organization went on to be a Finalist in 2009, solidifying themselves as one of the leading associations in the field of mental health.
In 2008, the High School Educational Awareness Program commenced whereby a counselor from Friends for Mental Health began going into high schools and giving presentations on mental health issues, its symptoms, treatments and resources in their community.
By 2009, the organization began offering services to children who have a loved one affected by a mental health issue. To this day, art therapy and drama therapy are the primary services offering them support.
So it is with the remarkable determination of just a few family members that Friends for Mental Health began 40 years ago and has evolved into the organization that it is today, boasting over 600 members every year! Throughout it all, there has been one constant: the strength of family members coping with a loved one’s mental health issue and their resolve to persevere in spite of it.
We offer support individuals and families caring for a loved one living with a mental health issue, whether they are diagnosed or not. So if you have a parent, grandparent, child, brother, sister, cousin or even a friend living with a mental health issue, we are here for YOU!
Our commitment: to listen to you, advise you and offer you information based on the most up-to-date research and best practices.
We serve residents of the West Island of Montreal
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue • Senneville • Baie d’Urfé • Kirkland • Beaconsfield • Pointe-Claire • Sainte-Geneviève • Île-Bizard • Pierrefonds-Roxboro • Dollard-des-Ormeaux • Dorval • Lachine