Mental Health on the Prairies conference looking to build hope and renew connections

Mental Health on the Prairies logo

Talking about mental health is important every day of the year, and the entire community is invited to join a conversation this spring about building hope and renewing connection to support good mental health.

The Mental Health on the Prairies Hybrid Conference and Community Conversation, hosted by Brandon University (BU), will be held April 24th, 25th, and 26th. The meeting will bring together researchers, professionals working in health and social care, educators, community groups, and lived experience experts to have critical conversations about mental health research, services, and experiences.

The conference includes three keynote presentations designed for the whole community. Chris Beaudry — former Humboldt Broncos coach — will talk about the “heroes and dragons of mental health,” sharing his experience of working with trauma. Dr. Jan DeFehr from University of Winnipeg will share extensive research and community practice in a presentation about breaking down psychiatric divisions. Finally, Sera Davidow — a filmmaker, author, activist and director of a peer-to-peer support and training organization — will talk about mental health through a harm reduction lens. Each of the keynote presenters offers different perspectives on mental health that are critical to building hope and renewing connections. Please register to participate at

The conference and community conversation will help share important information about mental health and support services with a wider audience.

“Connection is so important. We know that people who feel more connected report better mental health and they can cope better with mental health problems,” said Dr. Catherine Baxter conference co-chair and Professor in the Faculty of Health Studies.

The event planning team also includes community co-chair, Maria Kent, as well as mental health advocates, educators and researchers from the faculties of Health Studies, Arts, and Science at Brandon University.

“I look forward to hearing the conversations and actions it generates.”

Dr. Linda Ross, BU Acting Dean of Health Studies

Ultimately, the event aims to draw together a broad range of individuals from academic experts across the country to share knowledge and engage in critical conversations about community-based mental health research and solutions, to engaged community members who want to share their thoughts and experiences around mental health.

“This conference and conversation is an ongoing priority for us, and an important objective of our Centre for the Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health,” said Dr. Linda Ross, Acting Dean of Health Studies at BU. “I look forward to hearing the conversations and actions it generates.”

Mental Health on the Prairies is open to everyone. Anyone interested in participating in the Mental Health on the Prairies Conference and Community Conversation should go to the conference website for more information:


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