Dr. Clare Brant
The Native Mental Health Association was established in 1983 by Dr. Clare Brant, the first psychiatrist of Native origin in Canada. He was a member of the Wolf Clan and the Mohawk Nation. Dr. Brant gained national recognition for his insights into Native mental health processes and his exceptional skills as teacher, lecturer, and author.
While Dr. Brant liked to describe himself in modest terms, as a medicine man, country doctor and farmer, he took considerable satisfaction in his role establishing the Native Mental Health Association of Canada, He was the founder and first Chairman and active board member from 1990 - 1993. Dr. Brant died at Belleville General Hospital March 12, 1995.
The Association grew out of his work with the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) Section on Native Mental Health, established to promote professional awareness of Native mental health and cooperation with the health personnel in Native communities. It was so successful that a non-profit association was formed and became the Native Mental Health Association of Canada that continues to this time. Dr. Brant was regarded by those who knew him as a man who embodied the highest ideals of Native Society. In the words of the Great Iroquois Law of Peace: “having the good of the people always foremost in his mind".
The Native Mental Health Association of Canada (NMHAC) is a national not-for-profit association that is governed and managed by Aboriginal leaders and exists to improve the lives of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations by addressing healing, wellness, and other mental health challenges. It is a voluntary mental health association with membership open to all Canadians who are committed to healing, wellness and related mental health challenges.
The NMHAC grew out of the Canadian Psychiatric Association Section on Native Mental Health, which was formed in 1975. Led by the late Clare Brant, Canada's first Indigenous psychiatrist, it was incorporated on March 12, 1990, with the following objectives:
Over the past several years, the Native Mental Health Association of Canada has emerged as a strong national partner sharing the vision for a unified national voice for Canadian consumers.
In 2005 NMHAC board of directors began to work on its foundation and structure, developing a system of governance that best approximates the more traditional, consensus-based model, and identifying “good cultural ways” for creating and sustaining linkages with communities where quality programming and service delivery takes place.
The board of directors and members are developing a systematic and organized plan of action to achieve the following long-term goals: