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

Support PCMH

Support PCMH in providing families with peer to peer support, system navigation, and help to educate and empower.



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 a mental health advocate. She is the founder of  the  ADHD Parent Support Group- Kingston location 

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.  In 2010 Denise found the courage, guidance and direction to start a monthly support group for parents raising children with ADHD and mental health struggles.

With the help of parents, volunteers and sponsors, the group has grown. The group is known for its workshops and creating awareness for Kids Mental Health.



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




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




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.



Lauren Salmon - Board Member  

Lauren Salmon is a parent to 3 young children, a strategic leader and a community activist. Graduating from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Social work (BSW), Lauren realized early on that, while she had a strong passion for social service, direct work was not the right path for her, so she began her career working for a quantitative financial research firm in administrative roles and then moving into an Associate Project Manager role with Morneau Shepell. Lauren quickly moved through the ranks of project management over 6 years and is currently working as a Project Strategist in their Product Management and Strategy Execution team. Working for Morneau Shepell in these roles allowed her to flex her project management and strategic leadership muscles, but also to work in areas that she has always been passionate about including mental health and wellness. Consistently seeking out opportunities to expand and strengthen her knowledge base and skill set, in addition to her BSW, Lauren has her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and holds a certificate in Project Management from Ryerson University. Outside of the office, Lauren has a long history of volunteerism, previously volunteering in roles with Children’s Aid and Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, the latter of which where she held a number of positions including Corporate Secretary on the Board of Directors. In addition to volunteering within the not-for-profit sector, Lauren works closely with city government on a number of neighbourhood initiatives, currently sitting on a Steering Committee with City of Toronto staff, Toronto Police Services, Toronto District School Board and other community members.




Andrea Casciato - Board Member

Andrea is an energetic leader in financial services, with a passion for developing and coaching people to success. In her current role as Director, Wealth Distribution at one of Canada's largest financial institutions, she leads a team to develop and implement strategies for Wealth professionals operating within retail branches. Over her career she has built expertise in change management, strategy, Human Resources, and sales leadership. For the past 18 months, Andrea has been doing research and interviews about Personal Resilience as her passion project. She facilitates workshops to help people understand and grow their ability to effectively move forward from adversity. As the mother of a young son, Andrea is an ardent advocate for working mothers and their families. She has been a board member and ambassador for women’s organizations, both within her organization and in various non-profits. She is excited to join the PCMH board to continue supporting families and children.




Adrienne Jaroslawski - Board Member

Adrienne has a strong and varied background working within the insurance industry for over 25 years holding both a Chartered Insurance Professional and Certified Risk Management designations.  Currently Adrienne is a Senior Project Manager and valued as a change champion within her organization.    As the mom of two adult boys, Adrienne has experienced the impacts of mental health on youth and their families.   An active volunteer presently  sitting  on the board of  directors for Bereaved Families of Halton Peel and as a active member of the Community Advisory Council for Mental Health at the Oakville Hospital, Adrienne is looking forward to joining the board at PCMH and contributing to their success.


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I just wanted to say thank you to you and the governing body at PCMH. The newsletters are an important source of knowledge and support. I have found that this journey in … Member, St. Thomas