Support Groups

Our Chapters offer peer to peer support groups across the Province

Become a Chapter Leader

PCMH is recruiting Chapter Leaders to provide local peer to peer support

Response to Government

PCMH is very concerned about the decision that will eliminate a voice for our most vulnerable children



Sarah Cannon - Executive Director

Sarah joined the Board of Directors of Parents for Children's Mental Health in 2008 before becoming the Executive Director.  Since her daughter, Emily's, diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder when Emily was 5, Sarah has been heavily involved in child and youth mental health advocacy.  Sarah and her daughter Emily have spoken to media raising awareness of child and youth mental health having stories featured on Canada AM, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, The Gill Deacon Show, TVO, as well as recently featured in Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest and Maclean’s.  In 2009 Sarah was awarded the For Kids Sake Award by Today’s Parent, in 2010 the Kinark President's Award and most recently was awarded the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for her work in children’s  mental health and the efforts that she makes to eradicate the stigma that surrounds children, youth and their families.

Get to Know Sarah






Brandi Gowan - Family Engagement Specialist, Chapter Regional Lead

Brandi is the founder of the Owen Sound chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health. She has participated in review panels and consultations for the Ministry of Children and Youth, she is a board member of Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services and is a family engagement trainer. Brandi understands the reality of accessing services in rural Ontario. She has navigated the youth mental health system of Ontario while raising four children, one of whom suffers from severe mental illness.




Mike Hodges- Web and Social Media Administrator

Mike Hodges joined PCMH in 2016 as the Web and Social Media Administrator. Mike returned to Ontario after spending over a year working in Saskatchewan for The Nipawin Journal. Mike graduated with an advanced diploma in Journalism from Mohawk College in 2010 and since then he has become an accomplished writer, holding experience in print, blogging and radio. With his experience and versatile skill set, Mike creates a stronger online presence for PCMH and its readers.

Get to Know Mike


Denise Vanden Engel - Chapter Leader Coordinator
Denise  is a mother of four and mental health advocate. She is the founder of Kingston’s ADHD Parent Support Group and has made a commitment to help better the lives of children and families living life with ADHD. Knowing that many times there are multiple diagnosis involved, Denise understands the struggles that families face when supporting a child with metal illness. She is committed to creating a better system for families, youth and children.



Board of Directors


Michael Dawthorne - Chair

Michael has a teenage son with a Dual-Diagnosis – Developmental Disability and multiple Mental Health diagnoses .  He has over a decade of experience with Accessibility Services at the Canadian Hearing Society, and is currently the Business Manager for Interpreting and Captioning Services.  He has been sought out by various levels of Government, educational institutions, corporations and international events to advise on Accessibility.  He currently serves as the Chair of: the City of London’s Accessibility Advisory Committee; his son’s School’s Parent Council; and the Federal Government’s Translation Bureau Industry Representatives Panel.  He volunteers much of his time to various causes including Scouts, Block Parents, and Amnesty International.

Get To Know Michael


Michele Sparling - Past Chair / Chair - Fundraising/Development Committee

Michele Sparling is a Partner at Innovative HR, a human resources consulting firm. A committed believer in family and youth engagement, as a parent Michele has spent more than 15 years navigating the mental health system. A strong advocate and speaker for mental health, she is a peer-supporter, a member of the Board of Directors for CMHA-Halton Region, Co-Chair of the Community Advisory Committee on Mental Health for Halton Healthcare, a member of the Project Zero initiative with Trillium Health Partners, Co-Chair of the Working Committee on Case Management with the Mississauga-Halton LHIN, a speaker/presenter for United Way – Hamilton Halton, and is an ambassador for Children’s Mental Health Ontario. Michele is the chief initiator and team member for Shine Out! Shout Out! which raises awareness and funds for youth mental health, and Just Be You – a recreational-based peer-to-peer mental health support group for youth 15-25. In 2014 Michele was awarded the provincial Leading Women, Building Communities award for outstanding work in her community and the province in the area of mental health, and in 2017 she was presented with the Sesquicentennial Award by the Government of Canada.

Get To Know Michele




Steve Benyo - Vice Chair - Chair, Finance Committee

Steve is a trusted advisor in governance, risk management and finance which he has developed working over 20 years working in the financial services industry. Steve is currently the VP, Internal Audit Services at Meridian Credit Union.  Prior to that he spent 16 years at BMO Financial Group as VP Operational Risk Management, VP and Assistant Chief Auditor, Corporate Areas and he had a variety of progressively senior finance roles.  He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant designation.  Steve has been married for over 25 years to his wife Nancy and they have two children Eric and Sarah.  Steve is excited to be a part of PCMH as it provides him a great opportunity to get involved in an non-profit organization that aligns with what’s very important to him, family and mental health.

Steve Benyo




Sue Britton - Board Member

 Sue is a mother, entrepreneur and business owner, and has spent over 25 years working in a large corporations.  In January 2016, Sue decided to start her own business and founded the Fin+Tech Growth Syndicate, a Canadian Company that accelerates the pace of innovation and partnering through services and products for FinTech companies, Incumbent Financial Institutions and Investors.  Her professional career includes executive roles at D&H, Broadridge Financial, Symcor Service Inc., Xerox Goobal Services, and Four Seasons Hotels.  Sue has a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University. On a personal level, Sue has been active in her community serving on the Board of Halton Women’s Place for 2 years, running campaigns for United Way, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and Free the Children. Sue has been married for 25 years and is the mother of 3 boys; Jack 23, Charlie 21 and Joey 15. Support for parents, children and their families who are suffering from a mental illness is an area of passion for Sue, as her family has been learning how to support one another through her son’s illness diagnosed 2 years ago. In the beginning her and her husband were completely at a loss, both for their son and each other, as to how to get the help needed, what the right treatment was, and how to manage through it as a family. Sue is thrilled to be joining the Board. 



Sven Dedic- Treasurer

Sven's financial career began three years ago upon joining PwC LLP upon graduating in Finance from the University of Western Ontario. In his short time at PwC, he has gained experience leading engagement teams and providing financial analysis services to both small and large companies across the Toronto downtown core. Sven has long since had a passion for volunteering both his time and skills to areas in the community where help is needed. He has acquired a passion for volunteering and aiding children through his years serving a soccer coach for children and as a tutor to children with learning disabilities. Those experiences have left Sven wanting to devote not just his time, but his financial expertise acquired through both his educational and professional history to non for profit organisations whose causes he truly believes in.

Get To Know Sven




Danette MacIntyre - Board Member

Danette MacIntyre is a parent of a son who has ADHD. It was formally diagnosed at age 7, and he is now 15. She is well aware of the many misconceptions of the general population around this diagnosis and numerous others of children with mental health issues. These misconceptions sadly extend at times not only to the family but to some in the educational system as well. She is committed to creating a more accepting environment for those who fall outside of the mainstream.  As a nurse practitioner who spent almost her entire career in the north, she has seen first-hand the impact that a lack of integrated services for clients with mental health issues has. She has a wealth of nursing and NP experience and has worked for the past 17 years at the Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre in Fort Frances , providing care to the Aboriginal and Metis people and their families. She is a strong supporter of family centered care, and an advocate for service delivery and support in the area of mental health for all clients who struggle with mental health issues and their families. 

Get to Know Danette




John Lawrence - Board Member

John specializes in bottom-line impact for both business and issues facing society. He believes collaboration between business and the social sector will drive change and benefit both. His work has contributed to social agencies supporting health care, disaster relief, hunger relief, poverty alleviation, education, and the environment. Considering 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder, he hopes to drive change in this area as well.  John first joined PCMH as a parent seeking solutions to navigate the youth mental health system and is an active member of the Oakville PCMH chapter. He is the director of the Bayshore Foundation for Empowered Living at Bayshore HealthCare, and is an external business advisor for Ryerson University's Ted Rogers Leadership Centre.


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Thanks for being there!!! … Member, PCMH