Keynote Speaker

Michael Pietrus

Image of Michael Pietrus

Michael Pietrus, Director of Opening Minds, contributed to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s launch of its 10-year anti-stigma / anti-discrimination initiative designed to change the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians towards people living with mental illness. Opening Minds is the largest systematic effort to reduce the stigma of mental illness in Canadian history. Opening Minds is an important priority for the Commission because many people living with mental health issues say that the stigma associated with mental illness is often worse than the illness itself. It is a significant barrier keeping individuals dealing with mental health illness from seeking help. Mr. Pietrus also organized and co-chaired Together Against Stigma. More than 700 delegates from 29 countries attended this international anti-stigma conference in Ottawa in 2012. Mr. Pietrus is the co-chair of the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance, which is composed of about 20 organizations from around the world working to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness He is a member of the advisory committee for the Centre for Dignity, Recovery and Empowerment, San Francisco, CA and until recently sat on the Alberta Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addictions. Mr. Pietrus was also a Director with the Alberta Mental Health Board (AMHB).