Guelph, ON July 7, 2017 — Dave Gallson, a nationally known advocate for Canadians’ mental health needs, has been named National Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC), as the organization also expands its public policy focus on a national scale.

Gallson has a long history working within the mental health sector and has served as Associate National Executive Director for MDSC since 2010.

In his new post, Gallson brings with him the experience and commitment to build upon MDSC programs and services and will continue to develop and launch projects that strengthen Canada’s mental health resources.

“Dave has been an integral part of the success here at MDSC and has demonstrated a resounding ability to lead this organization over the next decade,” said John Starzynski, Chairman, MDSC Board of Directors. “His knowledge, dedication to our cause, work ethic, and ability to create and maintain positive, trust-based relationships will support our strategic plan that will benefit the Canadian mental health community.”

MDSC, launched in 2001, is engaged in a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to support the inclusion of persons with disabling mental illnesses in Canadian society and has taken a leading role in public policy and program development for this cause on the national stage.

Gallson has extensive experience in this area. In 2002, he founded a skills development program for persons with mental illness, led the creation of 6 project sites nationally which over several years assisted more than 1,300 Canadians dealing with mental illnesses return to work or school.

He completed a four-year term as Co-Chair of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. Dave also served as Project Director for the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network, supporting the efforts in the development of seven research hubs across the country. He also led the creation of the Transitions to Communities project, a national Veterans Employment program, which assists veterans impacted by PTSD and other mental health issues reengage through employment or school.

His strong interest and knowledge base in consumer/patient advocacy has contributed to his prominent reputation in Canada`s mental health community, which served well in creating the national Defeat Depression mental health campaign, with over 90 events held coast to coast.

Gallson’s appointment comes at a time when governments have given new priority to dealing with mental illness and promoting innovation across the health care system. As one of the hosts of the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health, an international super cluster of academia and businesses working to expand mental health knowledge and innovative service delivery across all 21 APEC economies and serving upwards of 2.8 B people, MDSC will be in a position to make an important contribution to these goals in coming years. The other hosts of the APEC Digital Hub are the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta.  To learn more about the Canada-led Hub please visit the website.

Strengthened public policy engagement nationally

Phil Upshall, the former head of MDSC, will assume the role of National Policy Advisor. Phil continues to hold a critical voice in engagements with governments nationally and internationally on behalf of MDSC and as an advisor to the Mental Health Commission of Canada and others. He brings a patient perspective to health care decision making as well as policy analysis and development.  Areas of focus include but are not limited to: the pursuit of innovation in the health care system, patient-oriented research outcomes, PTSD and the needs of Veterans and their families, digital mental health and importantly access to quality care.