Dr. Ian Dawe is the Program Chief and Medical Director of Mental Health at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Working in collaboration with Trillium’s senior leadership team, its service users and their families, as well as its medical and allied health professionals, he is focused on co-creating a new kind of addiction and mental health care—one that prioritizes personalization, coordination and enablement.
He was recently appointed as Chair of the Ontario Hospital Association’s Suicide Prevention Standards Task Force, a diverse panel of researchers, academics, clinicians, and lived-experience experts with a mandate from the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to focus on establishing best practice, evidence-based standards to guide the care for at-risk people in all of Ontario’s 151 hospitals.
He has acted as principle or co-investigator in clinical trials, and has authored numerous articles and reports on mental health care. He is a frequent invited lecturer with the Bell Let’s Talk campaign on topics including suicide prevention, mindfulness, and workplace mental health, and has presented his findings at a wide variety of provincial, national and international seminars, conferences and symposia.
As a governor, Ian has previously sat as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Ontario Telemedicine Network, Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada) and as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of both the Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. As a systems consultant, he has worked with many addiction and mental health organizations in Ontario, helping improve integration, value and quality.
Ian is personally inspired to work with schools, community agencies, and the hospital sector in a grand-scale community wellness initiative called Project Zero, which seeks to eliminate youth suicide in Mississauga within a decade by giving hope to children and youth through awareness and prevention, providing care options to support those affected by suicide, and connecting as a community to promote a better understanding of suicide and mental health issues.
Ian’s background in the field of mental health has helped him to understand that the problems we face as a society (poverty, racism, unemployment, homelessness, etc.) cannot continue to be called mental health issues and then “treated” with medications and therapy. With this in mind, Dr. Dawe has chosen to participate in the Community Foundation of Mississauga’s Dancing with the Mississauga Stars event as a way of supporting the growth of community wellness in the city.
He is facing his fear of dancing in public so that he can inspire others to face their own fears—fears of coming forward to proactively address mental health issues. This notion of stigma and a fear of openly discussing mental health-related issues is particularly noticeable in a community as culturally diverse as Mississauga, and where many newcomers arrive annually, coming from challenging environments around the world. He believes that it is only by investing in our community’s wellbeing that we will be able to solve the problems which we are currently forced to confront reactively.