As a Caregiver, you and those you care for are not alone!

As caregivers, we do what we can to better understand the mental illness that will have a lasting and profound impact on our family member. Our journey begins with the onset of the illness and continues as we do whatever is possible to ensure positive treatment outcomes and recovery. Visit this space to learn about organizations that provide support and services to caregivers and their loved ones living with mental illness in the Ottawa region and beyond. We’ll feature a new organization every week throughout our 20-day celebration.


The Embrace Project: from “patient centered care” to “patient and family centered care” —a culture change has begun!

The Embrace Project was an initiative of the Cornwall Community Addiction and Mental Health Services and the Cornwall and District Family Support Group, funded by The Change Foundation. It focused on engaging family members in the circle of care for mental illness and addiction by improving their interactions with the health care providers who treat and counsel their loved ones.

MICA actively supported the project and our President served as Co-Chair of its Advisory Committee. The focus on engaging family caregivers in the treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery of loved ones living with mental illness and addiction was a natural fit with MICA’s mission.

Over the course of three years, family caregivers—including young people—shared their stories and co-designed a wide array of materials to support those caring for someone who lives with mental illness and/or addiction. The project’s legacy is a culture change in the way families are included as members of the addiction and mental health care team and a set of physical and online resources that provide caregivers with information and tools to help them navigate the addiction treatment and mental health systems:

A Physical Space—the Family Caregiver Resource Centre

The Family Caregiver Centre, located in the Cornwall Community Hospital, serves the needs of caregivers across Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Akwesasne, Ontario—whether they are looking for information or just some respite. It gives them somewhere to meet other caregivers and share what they have in common, while reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. The centre is staffed by trained volunteers who have experience navigating their own caregiving journey. Learn more here

A Virtual Space—the Embrace Resource Hub

The online Embrace Resource Hub provides a wide range of tools and resources for caregivers (including some specifically for young carers), and for health professionals, as well as links to other organizations that can help. Although the website is designed to meet the unique needs of family caregivers in the Cornwall area, the resources will also be useful to those living in other communities. Visit the resource hub here.

MICA remains committed to doing what we can to support the virtual Embrace Resource Hub and the Family Caregiver Centre as they evolve and as we all continue to share lessons learned in response to the changing needs of the addiction and mental health community.



The Oasis in Kanata is a community outreach program of Glen Cairn United Church that offers information, education, and support for caregivers of persons living with mental illness in Kanata and the surrounding area. It features the following:

Information sessions that are free and open to all, given by expert speakers on topics such as communication, finance, self-care, suicide prevention, and crisis planning.

Workshops and courses developed by organizations such as the Schizophrenia Society, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Ottawa Hospital, and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Pre-registration is required.

Caregivers Matter, a caregiver support group that meets monthly in a confidential, small-group setting. The group is facilitated by a mental health professional and trained volunteers, giving caregivers information, support, and hope through shared experience

Listen to a message from our partners at OASIS !


To visit OASIS click here


“One door to access counselling services with 13 organizations means people get the help they need”

As a result of COVID-19, emergency departments and clinics have temporarily shut their doors to walk-in patients. The total volume of visitors to the emergency departments of Ottawa hospitals has been reduced by 50 per cent, including those seeking urgent care for mental health and substance abuse. As a result, there is a critical need for quick and easy access to counselling for people of all ages—to address stress, anxiety, substance use, gambling, relationships, adjusting to life in Canada and more.

However, while those doors have closed for the time being, another one has opened online. Counselling Connect provides a streamlined, online portal for mental health services that links people with the help they need and simplifies the often-difficult task of navigating mental health services. Although in-office counselling is not possible during the pandemic, all services are available online and caring teams are there to help.

Developed with support from the Ottawa Health Team-Équipe Santé Ottawa, the website makes it easy to schedule a same-day or next-day counselling session by phone or video with one of 13 community agencies* providing mental health and addiction counselling. Children, youth, adults and families can now easily book a phone or video appointment with the service that is right for them. Visit Counselling Connect

*The 13 agencies are: Canadian Mental Health Association Ottawa, Crossroads Children's Mental Health Centre, Centretown Community Health Centre, Le Cap, Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, Family Services Ottawa, Jewish Family Services, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Somerset West Community Health Centre, The Walk-in Counselling Clinic, and Youth Services Bureau.



The FAMHAS Foundation was created in honour of Fabiola Philippe, who suffered from addiction and mental health problems. Knowing all too well the pain, confusion, and loss that can come with addiction and mental illness, her loved ones decided to launch Fabiola’s Addiction and Mental Health Awareness & Support Foundation on November 30th, 2018, to commemorate what would have been her 36th birthday. This Foundation’s hope is to eliminate the stigmas associated with this illness within the black community.

In collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Government, FAMHAS has officially launched its ACB support program. We are working with multiple black mental health service providers to offer 2 hours of free counselling services to the ACB (African, Caribbean, Black) Community. These Services are available for those who are having a hard time and are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health crises. This service will run until November 30th, 2020.

We hope to introduce therapy to many members of the ACB community who would otherwise consider this option as a tool for healing. We know there is much more to be done but this is a first step in the right direction.

Getting the help you need is as easy as:

1: Visit https://famhas.ca/counselling/

2: Select the service needed

3: We connect you with a professional

Listen to a message from our partners at FAMHAS Foundation !



At NAMI Family-to-Family Programs, Ontario, we understand what it's like for families coping today with the challenges of a loved one experiencing a mental health condition or mental illness. We know that you’re looking for the one thing that’s going to make a difference in helping you support your loved one. We understand because we’re family members and we’ve been there too. We want you to know that you’re not alone, we can help.

Working with various agencies, we offer three educational courses in select cities in Ontario and in the Montreal West Island area, and connect you to resources near you. There is no fee to attend and the materials are provided at no cost to you. These are the courses we offer:

The NAMI Family-to-Family Education Course is an 8-week course for family caregivers of adults experiencing a mental health condition or mental illness.

The NAMI Provider Education Course is a 15-hour course for health care professionals and others who, as part of their work, interact directly with individuals with a mental illness.

We’re really excited about the NAMI Basics Education Course, our newest addition. It’s a 6-week course for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents experiencing mental health symptoms. Recently introduced, it is still in a pilot phase in Sarnia. After COVID and when it’s safe to return to meet in person, we will proceed with our plan to train teachers to bring this wonderful course throughout the province.

To learn more about theses courses and what we do, visit our website at f2fontario.ca. If you are dealing with a loved one with a mental health condition, do seek out the supports you need and know that we are there for you. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.



Lets get in touch. Send us a message:

19 Colonnade Road, P.O. Box 5065, Ottawa, ON, K2G 4V8, canada

Phone: (613) 884-6422

Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EST

Information: info@MICAontario.com