ACCESS Open Minds

Ambassador: Alicia Raimundo , Canada

Alicia works to reduce the stigma of mental health. She began raising awareness with the publication of her own story in a book called Red Carnation which became part of the national school’s curriculum in Canada. The book is included in a six module education programme in schools which teach every eighth grade child about depression and how it is not something of which to be ashamed. She has also spoken to over 100,000 people at events, on radio and TV programmes and she has worked with the writers of a popular teenage programme creating a character with depression. 

In addition to raising awareness Alicia has established ACCESS Open Minds which has created a new clinical model for mental health treatment in Canada. In June 2014 she received a grant from the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Gram Boeckh Foundation (each contributed $12.5 million); it is noted to be one of the largest grants related to mental health in Canada. Thirteen Mental Health Centres opened in 2016. Through these clinics young people with depression can now access support in 72 hours rather than waiting six months in the traditional health care system. The support is provided by young people who have experienced mental health issues and have been trained by professionals. Over 3,000 young people have received help.