Toronto (Ontario), October 15, 2020 – Frank van Nie, President of the CMHA Toronto Board of Directors, is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Anhorn to the position of CEO, CMHA Toronto, effective November 16, 2020.
“Michael is a passionate and innovative leader with an impressive profile that includes more than 20 years of leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector, with a focus on partnerships, evidence- based program and public policy development and governance best practices,” says van Nie. “We were pleased with the high degree of interest in the position and the calibre of candidates we interviewed throughout our executive search. Our Board is exceptionally confident that the combination of Michael’s extensive experience, leadership qualities and his passion for helping individuals live mentally healthy lives positions him for success in leading us forward.”
Anhorn has been a part of the CMHA family for the last eight years as Executive Director of the CMHA Vancouver-Fraser Branch. During this time, he led the amalgamation of three formerly independent CMHA branches into the Vancouver-Fraser Branch, oversaw preparation for the Branch’s first accreditation survey with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and developed and launched an innovative, evidence-based program using peer support workers to help program participants navigate the mental health and addictions system.
Prior to this, Anhorn worked with BC Housing for six years in the development and implementation of affordable and supportive housing. A prolific and passionate volunteer, Anhorn has served on the Board of Directors for several not-for-profit organizations, with his most recent involvement as President for Vantage Point, an organization committed to transforming not-for-profit governance and leadership in British Columbia. He was also the founding director for two not-for-profit organizations: Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society, a charity focused on preserving the spiritual practices of Indigenous peoples, and Abbey of the Long Cedar Canoe Society, a community service organization for the LGBTQ2S+ communities.
Anhorn holds a Master of Arts in Planning from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan.
“Mental health starts and ends in the community, and there is much work still to be done to fully realize this for everyone,” says Anhorn. “I am very excited to work with CMHA Toronto’s dedicated team of staff as we walk alongside our service users and their families to address the social determinants of mental health on an individual level, and work with community and government partners to achieve system level change for medium and long-term improvements for people living with mental health and addictions issues.
“In considering community and mental health, it is critical that all mental health and substance use service providers wrestle with the colonial nature of our concept of mental health / mental illness and with all forms of systemic oppression and discrimination, including racism. CMHA Toronto is a leader of transformative change, and I am excited to be a part of the team as we continue to move our communities forward.”
“On behalf of the CMHA Toronto Board of Directors, I welcome Michael to the CMHA Toronto family and look forward to working with him to lead CMHA Toronto in its mission to improve quality of life for people living with mental health issues,” says van Nie.
Anhorn will build on the successful work of his predecessor, CMHA Toronto Executive Director, Steve Lurie, who has been in the post since August 1979. Lurie will be retiring from CMHA Toronto after 41 years of service.
“Under Steve’s leadership, CMHA Toronto has developed into a leader in the community mental health and addictions sector locally, provincially and nationally,” says van Nie. “For over four decades, Steve has been an effective, tireless advocate for improving the lives of people with mental health and addictions issues and has made significant contributions to positively shaping the mental health care system. On behalf of CMHA Toronto, we thank Steve for his visionary work and for coaching the next generation of mental health sector leaders.”
Lurie will remain in his role as Executive Director of CMHA Toronto until Friday, October 30, 2020. CMHA Toronto Director of Organizational Performance, Garfield Bembridge, will step in as Acting Executive Director until Anhorn starts his new role on November 16, 2020.
“I have been incredibly fortunate to have spent my career working for CMHA Toronto and I am very proud of what we have built together,” says Lurie. “I feel privileged to have worked with each and every person across the agency and in the sector, and I want to thank everyone for their support and guidance over the years. With the extraordinary commitment of our staff, management and Board, I know CMHA Toronto will continue to be a leader in providing community mental health and addictions services.”
About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto Branch
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto Branch is a leading accredited community- based mental health agency dedicated to the promotion of mental health for all. CMHA Toronto’s multi-disciplinary team supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental health issues through advocacy, education and providing safe, effective and quality services. For more information, visit www.toronto.cmha.ca.
For more information, contact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto