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Mental Health Symposium

Thank you to everyone who attended the conference on Wednesday, April 14 & Thursday, April 15, 2021!
Guest Speakers
Joe Roberts
Vancouver, British Columbia

In 1989, Joe Roberts was living on the streets of Vancouver as a homeless skid row addict. Through perseverance, determination, and his resilient human spirit, Joe pulled himself out of darkness and despair to become a highly respected business & community leader. Since 1989, Joe has completed two college diplomas and is now the CEO of one of Vancouver's leading multimedia companies. Joe walked 9064KM across Canada to raise awareness about youth homelessness, and is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Push for Change Foundation, a charity advocating for youth homelessness prevention. 

By sharing his personal experience with mental health and addictions, Joe hopes to instigate a ripple effect of positive change by reminding people of their unlimited potential. Joe’s deep resonating “WHY” is to facilitate the experience that empowers people to redefine what’s truly possible for their lives, their business, their family, and their community. Find out more at

Ed Mantler
Ottawa, Ontario
As Vice-President of Programs & Priorities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Ed is dedicated to promoting mental health, recovery, and changing the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and illnesses. A highly motivated visionary and an expert at building partnerships, engaging stakeholders, and inspiring change, Ed has led innovation and improvement in healthcare for over two decades. 
Ed pays particular attention to reducing stigma and increasing awareness, promoting psychologically healthy workplaces and schools, improving access to quality mental health services, preventing suicide, and improving understanding of the impacts of cannabis on mental health. Ed will discuss the mental health needs of health care providers through integrated models of care, as well as possible opportunities that exist for partnership and innovation in both rural & urban health care in Alberta. Find out more from the Mental Health Commission of Canada
Dr. Jennifer Swainson
Edmonton, Alberta

Dr. Jennifer Swainson is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta Department of Psychiatry, and an active teacher of residents and students.  She works clinically as a general adult psychiatrist at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton.


Dr. Swainson has a focus on treatment resistant depression and has expertise in the use of ketamine in this area.  She has been a leading force in developing Covenant Health’s ketamine programs Edmonton, which stand recognized as some of the first in Canada.  Dr. Swainson was also key contributor to development of a provincial ketamine protocol for depression within Alberta Health Services.  She has also provided consultation to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta regarding the need for safe and accessible use of ketamine in psychiatry.   Dr. Swainson is one of the lead authors of the recently published CANMAT Ketamine Task force update, a national document to guide the profession on use of ketamine for depression.  Her other major area of interest is the interplay between diet and mental health and between mental illnesses, psychiatric medications and metabolic comorbidity. 

Laurel Kirchner
Edmonton, AB
Laurel works as a Wellness Advisor for Covenant Health providing support for the wellness of the employees at sites across the province. She is has developed resources for healthcare employees on building resilience and mental health awareness surrounding pandemic circumstances. She has also written for Focus on the Family Canada, and previously worked as an Exercise Therapist at WCB Millard. More recently, she co-authored material with Mindwell in their development of mindfulness educational modules to support the wellness of healthcare workers across Canada.
Dr. Hany Shaltout
Camrose, AB

Dr. Hany Shaltout has been practicing psychiatry for 12 years. He is currently the attending psychiatrist for the inpatient Mental Health unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose and provides community support to people with mental illness through his work with the Camrose Addictions and Mental Health Clinic as well as the Camrose Primary Care Network and his private office in the Gemini Medical Center.

Hany completed his training in adult psychiatry followed by a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry. He is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK as well as a Holder of the Arab Board of Medical Specialties Certificate in Psychiatry.

Through his appointment as a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta, Hany hopes to be part of the team that helps train future psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses. He is fond of improving mental health literacy and has been an active public speaker as well as organizer for mental health events for over 10 years. 

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Facilitated Discussions

Covenant Health Organizational Talent will lead Breakout Rooms to answer questions, guide discussions on current mental health tools and resources, and help participants create an action plan for change in our community.  

Revised: December 31, 2021

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