Name: Trevor Tymchuk
Title: Chair, Provincial HSJCC Communications and Knowledge Exchange Committee
Organization: Provincial HSJCC
Affiliated HSJCC: Provincial HSJCC
I became involved with the HSJCC in 2000, when I joined the Sudbury-Manitoulin Local committee. My path to the HSJCC is somewhat unique, as I do not represent any agency or ministry. About 20 years ago, I had my first and only psychotic episode and, long story short, I was convicted of assault, and served some time at the former Guelph Assessment and Treatment Centre. I was already involved with mental health services, as both a client and with committees and boards of directors. In representing the governance bodies of programs in East Algoma, I learned of the HSJCC, and pretty much begged to join. Right from the beginning, I saw the value of the committee. At a local level, the committee was able to bring together various service providers, and not only get to know what services everyone offered, but also problem-solve complex clients. In some instances, an individual would be offered a service or resource that had been unknown to their case worker, and it could be of immense help.
When Regional committees were established, I joined the Northeast Regional HSJCC, and through that, became a member of the Algoma Local committee. Several years ago, I became co-chair, then chair, of the Northeast Regional HSJCC, and that brought me to the Provincial table, representing northeastern Ontario. The provincial committee was a great place to learn about issues affecting other areas of the province – some common, others somewhat unique to a region. Soon after joining the Provincial committee, I joined, then chaired, the Communications and Knowledge Exchange Committee, handling the newsletter and website.
When I joined the Provincial committee, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division, had been providing policy support to the Provincial committee, but it was soon obvious to me that more resources were needed. As a Regional representative, I saw that while issues worked their way up to the provincial table, there were almost limited resources to address these issues.
A few years ago, I moved from the Northeast to the Niagara area, and had to give up my position as a regional representative. I was very grateful to the Provincial committee for appointing me to one of two at-large positions on the Steering Committee, allowing me to remain on the provincial committee. I was also happy to join the Hamilton-Niagara-Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Regional and Niagara Local committees.
Thankfully, as of last July, the provincial government has been able to provide the resources for the provincial network to have some staff resources. While my duties handling the day-to-day communications work of the network has changed, I am very happy that there are now people who are working full-time on network projects.
As someone with lived experience, of both the human services and justice sectors, I am committed as ever to the HSJCC and its’ mandate. I’ve seen the work that happens at the local and regional levels, and know that people have been helped as a result. Now, with dedicated staff, the effectiveness of the network as a whole will be substantially increased, and even more people will be helped. I’m very proud to be part of that work.