Alex McAlpine – Case Manager
Alex McAlpine first became involved with CMHA as a placement student in 2018. Having the opportunity to learn in such a dynamic and forward-thinking agency solidified the decision to work in community mental health. Alex loved her placement with CMHA-HP so much she never left! She continued to work with the agency part time while finishing her studies and then transitioning to case manager full time.
Alex’s professional qualifications are in social work. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Guelph, and a Masters in Social Work from University of Western Ontario. Alex is also registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
In her spare time Alex can be found outside enjoying all that nature has to offer, or cozying up with a good book!
Angela Near – Case Manager/ Intake
Angela Near began working at CMHA HP in 2011 as a Case Manager working in Listowel and Wingham. Prior to that in 2006, Angela was the receptionist in the Stratford office for a year before leaving to pursue post- secondary education. Currently Angela works in Stratford doing Case Management, Intake for both counties and training new staff when they enter the organization.
For the last year, Angela has worked at CMHA’s James’ Place program that provides those in crisis with a safe place to stay. Angela is passionate about mental wellness and creating an environment that is client-centered. Most of Angela’s work is supporting clients with addiction issues and/or homelessness. Angela spends a lot of her work time in CMHA’s housing programs with her clients and working closely with colleagues to provide the best level of care to the clients in their most vulnerable of times.
Angela’s background is Social Service Work at Fanshawe College and she studied Criminology and Thanatology (Grief and Bereavement Studies) at King’s University in London. Angela enjoys spending her summers at her cottage on the water with her family, reading fiction novels and travelling. Angela lives in St. Marys with her husband and two young boys.
Ashley Smulders – Case Manager
Ashley Smulders has had a passion for mental health initiatives and helping to strengthen her community since she was a young girl. Two of the main reasons why she wanted to pursue a career in mental health were her high school job as a peer support worker at Stratford Children’s Services and her family’s experience as a foster family.
These experiences influenced her to get a degree in Community Development and Criminal Justice from the University of Western Ontario. The completion of her educational community placements helped her discover her appreciation for volunteer work. This is why she started volunteering at Stratford General Hospital in the mental health and emergency departments. Her favourite memory while volunteering is spending time in the hospital garden while listening to music and flipping through a patient’s personal art book with them.
Ashley has lived in Perth County her whole life and has moved a total of 8 times (including her move to London for school). She enjoys yoga, coaching volleyball, epoxy crafts, and hiking with her friends. You can usually find her outside when the weather is nice! She has a cat named Boots who she adopted from the Humane Society in 2020.
Barb Hagarty – Case Manager
Barb Hagarty first became involved with the Canadian Mental Health Association Huron-Perth Branch as a Board member when working with the City of Stratford Ontario Works Department.
Her commitment to the importance of good mental health and mental health awareness is long-standing. As case manager she has been able to bring experience gained through a varied professional background in health care promotion, social services and the voluntary sector.
Barb Pepper – CHO Coordinator
Barb is a graduate of the Social Service Worker Program and Foundations in Addictions, Fanshawe College.
She worked with the City of Stratford and Family Services Perth Huron as the Housing Stability Worker. Barb continued her work in supporting clients with London Cares and the City of London as an Intensive Case Manager. Barb then worked at Crest Support Services as a Direct Support Provider.
Barb started with CMHA-HP as Community Homes for Opportunity program lead in February 2018. Barb is passionate about providing quality care to clients in the CHO program. She has improved privacy for residents, added more community activities, and created opportunities for personal growth.
Barb and her husband live on a country property near Granton. Barb is an avid gardener, loves her 4 German Shepherds, her swimming pool, and traveling. Barb enjoys spending time with her family and friends and cherishes time spent with her 7 grandchildren.
Carla Nikitin – Case Manager
Carla Nikitin is a graduate from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Child and Family Studies. After completing her studies in Guelph, Carla moved to Kitchener where she completed her Social Service Worker diploma at Conestoga College.
Upon completion of her schooling, Carla spent time in various social service roles in the KW area. This included working with homeless youth in Cambridge, as well as a child custody and supervised access program in Kitchener.
Even though she loved both of these roles in the city, her desire to work in community mental health lead her to the Canadian Mental Health Association in the spring of 2017. Carla was born and raised in Huron County, understanding the need for mental health resources in rural areas. Carla has been working in a case management role with CMHA in the Listowel and Brussels areas since she was hired and thoroughly enjoys the work that she does.
Carla now lives in Bruce County with her partner and their dog, Gunner. She enjoys spending time outdoors, playing baseball, and evenings at the beach watching the Lake Huron sunsets.
Cynthia Miller – Transitional Coordinator
Cynthia has been employed with CMHA since 2016. Cynthia currently manages the Transitional Housing Program, and she is a Case Manager with the agency.
Cynthia attended Sir Sandford Fleming College, where she received a diploma from the Drug and Alcohol Counsellor Program (Aboriginal Emphasis Initiative). She is registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
Cynthia has spent much of her professional career employed in the mental health sector. She has experience working primarily with individuals experiencing homelessness, substance abuse issues, criminal justice system involvement and youth.
Cynthia was born and raised in Stratford, though she did reside in Peterborough for a few years following graduation.
Cynthia is a lover of all animals, and she has an incredible dog named Jake who accompanies her to work regularly.
Dan Hyland – Peer Support
Dan first became involved with the CMHA Huron Perth branch while Coordinator of the PAR Program at Family Services Perth Huron. He shared more than a few clients with workers from the branch, and had
many consultations with CMHA workers. He was favourably impressed with their passion, dedication, and professional demeanor. In 2010-11 he completed a Social Work placement at the branch, and later, served as a Board member until 2018, when he joined the agency as a Peer Support Worker.
He very much enjoys engaging with peers at the Alexandria Marine and General Hospital in Goderich, doing overnight shifts at James Place, and now facilitating the Peer Support Steering Committee. He still finds the staff and supervisors fully engaged, passionate, professional, and caring. It is a wonderful place to work.
Doug Smith – Program Supervisor
Doug has been working in the Social Service sector for the past thirty plus years.
Prior to CMHA he was employed as a supervisor in a group home serving abused children and also has extensive knowledge working in regular and Treatment Foster Care.
Doug has been a previous foster parent for many years and has enjoyed this challenging and rewarding opportunity to help children in our communities.
Doug has been working with CMHA since the year 2000 and is currently a Program Supervisor for the Case Management Program. Doug provides strong leadership to Case Managers and is well respected with staff, clientele and community partners.
Doug is a compassionate, thoughtful and committed employee who thoroughly enjoys working in the mental health profession.
Doug is registered as a Social Services Worker with the College of Social Work and is a graduate of Fanshawe College in London Ontario.
He holds a secondary diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion from the same academic institution.
In his spare time Doug enjoys the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
He is active in many recreational activities such as golf, tennis and cycling.
Erin Mills – Case Manager
Erin’s passion and desire to be in a helping profession began in her youth. It was not until university that she was able to fully explore this passion through her education focusing on mental health and her role as a facilitator in a grief support group. Erin attended The University of Western Ontario where she received a Double Major in Thanatology and Family Studies. It was through these studies that she developed a keen desire to support the most vulnerable in her community.
Erin began her career as a case worker for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron, then as a program worker for the Children’s Aid society. While in these roles she was able to recognize the impact mental illness can have on a family and our community, if left unsupported. Erin began her role as a Case Manager with CMHA in 2018 and in this role is fully able to apply her passion for mental health and supporting those in her community.
Walking with someone through their struggles and challenges is a privilege that reignites Erin’s passion to continue to advocate for her clients. She is grateful for the opportunities that CMHA provides their clients and the possibilities CMHA is able to offer.
Erin lives on a farm in Perth County with her husband and their four young children. In her spare time Erin is passionate about running and loves nothing more than a before-dawn run while the rest of the world sleeps.
Jodi Wilhelm – Case Manager/ Reception
Jodi has worked at CMHA since April 2017. She was hired as a Case Manager and has recently diversified her duties to include Reception 3 days per week as well as Volunteer Coordinator. Jodi has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health from Humber College. Jodi entered into the mental health field due to a strong interest in helping others improve their quality of life. She enjoys building relationships with clients and appreciates their willingness to allow her to be part of their journey to wellness.
Jodi’s favourite things about CMHA HP are the “think outside the box” mentality, and the opportunity she has been given to wear many different hats within the agency. In her spare time Jodi loves to be active outdoors and she enjoys playing tennis and cross country skiing. Jodi also adores her tiny little dog, Lucy.
John Robertson – Executive Director
John Robertson first became involved as a high school student with CMHA when the branch was founded in 1967. John was a volunteer with the branch and his work with the agency and the community encouraged his interest in social work.
Did he plan to return to CMHA to work? ‘Absolutely not, at that time you wanted to leave Stratford and never return’, says John.
In 1995, following a career with the Ontario Public Service in senior management roles which involved social planning and program administration, John joined CMHA Perth in the role of Executive Director. Since that time John has been involved in significant expansion of agency programs and a name change in 2000 to the Huron Perth Branch.
John’s professional qualifications are in social work. He holds a bachelor degree from University of Western Ontario and a master’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. John is also registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Having lived many years in London, John recently moved to Goderich. He shares his home with his pet dog Kirby and cat Steve. He has a passion for marine fish and corals and model trains. His adult son Michael works in London.
Kate Arand – Case Manager
Kate graduated from the Social Service Worker Program at Fleming College in 2004. As part of that course Kate was a placement student with CMHA-HP.
Kate then became a full time staff member in 2005.
Over the course of her employment Kate has enjoyed working in several rural communities across Huron-Perth. Kate believes that one of the many strengths of the Case Management Program is the flexibility and mobility Case Managers have to work with people in their own communities and homes.
Lindsay Chandler – Case Manager/ Education and Media Lead
After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Neumann University in 2006, Lindsay worked as an Intensive Case Manager at the Crozer Keystone Community Hospital in the suburbs of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Lindsay moved back to her hometown of Stratford Ontario in 2007 with hopes to continue her career in the mental health sector.
Lindsay was hired on contract by CMHA HP in 2009 and took on the role of Transitional Housing Coordinator with CMHA for a short period before being hired as a full time Case Manager at the agency in 2011.
Lindsay has enjoyed taking on different roles within CMHA HP over the years facilitating both the Recreational and FRESH Programs. Lindsay is currently is a member of the CMHA Health & Safety Committee and the Safe Bed Team. More recently, she took on the role and co-lead of Community Education for CMHA HP. Lindsay also sits as Co -Chair of the Huron Perth O.P.P. Situation Table as the agency representative.
Lindsay values her volunteer experiences within the community coaching and training for minor hockey in Stratford as well as with the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, with her beloved Black Lab – Tessa.
Lindsay is the proud mother of two and enjoys spending her time with family and friends whenever possible. Being outdoors, exploring and playing with her children are the things that fulfill Lindsay the most!
Mary McDonnell – Reception
Mary has been working as the CMHA receptionist at the Stratford office since April 2018. Mary is often the voice you will hear when you call into CMHA and provides support with the initial intake process.
Mary has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Adult Development and Family and Child Studies from the University of Guelph. While Mary has been working at CMHA she has also been completing her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University. Mary has had experience providing mental health support in many different volunteer and work related settings. Mary has always been passionate about supporting others with their mental health and well-being, and is eager to continue working in this field.
Mary enjoys doing outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and camping! Mary enjoys spending time with family/friends, and absolutely loves animals!
Matt MacPhee – Housing Lead/ Concurrent Disorders
Matt started at CMHA H-P nine years ago and since has assumed various roles within the agency. His current roles as Concurrent Disorder Case Manager and Housing Lead keep him active within the community. He continues to build strong relationships with landlords, tenants and clients, and enjoys the challenges that come along with working for CMHA H-P and their ever-expanding housing portfolio.
Matt is also a member of the Health & Safety Committee.
Having graduated from Lambton College in 2004, he worked for five years at Bluewater Youth Centre as a Youth Correctional Officer. He accepted his position with CMHA months prior to the facility closing.
Matt is a proud father of two beautiful girls. He has resided in Goderich all of his life and is happy to raise his young family there.
In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing and coaching various sports, fitness, gardening, and cooking. He is an avid sports fan, cheering for the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Matt is looking forward to once again travelling, attending sporting events and concerts.
Megan Penhall-Seyler – Case Manager
Megan has worked for CMHA Huron Perth since August 2018. Megan works as a case manager in the northern Huron area, primarily in Goderich and Wingham. She has also recently started to assist with the CMHA peer support program.
Megan first attended Niagara College where she completed her Social Service Worker (SSW) diploma. While completing this course she did placements in both the developmental and mental health sectors.
Before working for CMHA Huron-Perth, Megan worked at Avon Maitland District School Board as an Educational Assistant, Community Living Stratford and Area as support worker and other community agencies in the developmental sector.
After working in the developmental and education sectors for several years she went back to school and completed her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Wilfrid Laurier University. While in this program she completed a placement as a social work student in a long term care facility.
Megan enjoys working for CMHA Huron-Perth and believes that every person has the capacity to make meaningful changes and reach their goals.
Outside of work Megan enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her two cats Nova and Stella.
Melaney Prevett – Court Support
Melaney Prevett first worked for CMHA filling a maternity leave contract position in 1998. After several years working contract for CMHA, Melaney was hired as a Case Manager and worked for many years in Huron County. She has worn several hats with the agency over the years, working as Intake Worker, Housing Case Manager and she currently works as Court Support and Release from Custody Worker in both Huron and Perth Counties. Previous work included working as a Housing Case Manager with WOTCH Mental Health Services in Exeter.
Melaney attended the University of Western Ontario where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She has maintained her professional standards by continuing to take courses that pertain to her work in the mental health field.
Melaney enjoys painting while she is not working and runs a gallery/studio from her home in Goderich where she shares her talent with other people, including adults and children who are interested in learning the basics of watercolour painting. Melaney lives with her husband and son and dog, Nellie and cat, Foster. Melaney is proud of her two children who are pursuing post-secondary studies in their areas of interest.
Mindy Gough – Case Manager/ Education and Media Co-lead
Mindy Gough obtained her BSW (Hons) degree from King’s College, UWO, and followed that with a Certificate in Thanatology and Palliative Care from UWO. Mindy’s professional career has included work in child welfare, mental health and crisis intervention, with additional training in grief and bereavement, PhotoTherapy, and mental health.
Mindy left the field for some time while owning a photography studio where she loved creating portraiture and editorial work, but Mindy felt the call to return to mental health work and she was delighted to find a professional home at CMHA. Every client is unique, and Mindy is proud of the way that CMHA allows her to create solutions and supports geared to each individual. Currently Mindy’s roles at CMHA include Case Manager, facilitator of the Good Morning meetings, co-facilitator of the Family Support Group, and co-lead for Education and Media.
Outside of work time, Mindy can be found spending time with her family, hiking the trails, photographing woodland creatures, or curled up in a hammock with a good book.
Dr. Peter Dixon
Dr. Peter Dixon studied medicine at the University of Queensland in Australia, where he gained experience practicing psychiatry before recently returning to Ontario. Since arriving in Stratford, he has worked at the Stratford General Hospital and with Huron Perth Public Health in addition to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Mental illness poses a significant societal burden: we are all affected in some way and his desire is to be part of the increasing emphasis on early recognition and treatment, with special attention paid to a person’s unique personal, cultural and environmental contexts.
He is interested in combining scientifically-proven approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness in order to help clients identify their values, develop goals and the confidence to live their lives with health, happiness and meaning.
Rebecca Skinner – Program Support
Rebecca started with CMHA – Huron Perth in 2018 and works out of our Seaforth office in the program support role. She came to us after managing a spa in Grand Bend which she loved because that position allowed her to help people practice self-care on a daily basis. It was that love for helping others that has directed many life choices and lead her to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
During her time at the Seaforth office Rebecca has enjoyed meeting and working with clients and sitting in on various peer support social events. One of her favourite memories thus far was meeting many new faces and getting to know clients outside of the office while attending a spring trip to the Blyth Creek Maple Farm.
Rebecca recently got married to her husband Travis and moved into their new home in Varna. She has two step-children and a pug named Pete that keep her house very full and her life very busy. When she’s not running from one arena to the next she can often be found working on her small business that she runs with her mother.
Sarah Montgomery – Case Manager
Sarah Montgomery has been a Case Manager with the Canadian Mental Health Association since 2017. She supports individuals in Huron County and is knowledgeable about services in this area.
She came to us with great experience in the Social Work field, as well as a Social Service Worker diploma from Fanshawe College. Sarah has spent many years supporting and advocating for the women and children who have utilized the services of Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey. She worked as a frontline Crisis Counsellor, as well as a Transition Worker to assist women in moving forward after their time at the Shelter. She has spent many hours supporting individuals on the 24 Hour Crisis line, as well as the Sexual Assault Support Line and has experience working in the Second Stage Housing Program.
Sarah excels in her passionate and non-judgmental attitude. She believes everyone has the ability to make positive changes in their life with the right support person in their corner.
Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.
Sarah Spicer – Intake Coordinator
Sarah Spicer began her employment at Canadian Mental Health Association, Huron Perth Branch in 1999 working part time as a reception/crisis worker. She has held positions supporting homelessness programs, crisis response, case management and client intake.
She began her current role completing intake assessments to connect clients with services for Perth County in 2010 and her position was adjusted to cover Huron County as well in 2013.
Sarah received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1995 and her registration with the Ontario Colleges of Social Work and Social Service Workers is pending.
Sarah has always had a keen interest in the area of mental health and continues to seek out creative ways to support clients in their recovery journey.
Sarah is mother to three teenage daughters and spends a great deal of her free time supporting their love of horseback riding and competitive volleyball. Their family includes a rambunctious dog and handsome cat.
Shannon Dawson – Case Manager
Shannon Dawson has been a practicing Registered Social Service Worker for four years.
Shannon earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Psychology from King’s University College in 2011. In 2016, Shannon attended Fanshawe College to complete a fast tracked Social Service Worker diploma. During her education, Shannon completed a 540- hour practicum placement where she provided secure and supportive therapeutic services for female youth in Ontario’s Justice System.
Since graduating in 2017, Shannon has practiced in a wide range of social service settings in both London and Stratford.
Shannon joined CMHA-HP in 2018 as a Case Manager. In 2019, Shannon also began running the weekly Drop-In Clinic at the Stratford office.
Shannon is a member in good standing with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and engages in continuing professional education in accordance with the requirements of the College.
Outside of work, Shannon spends a lot of time with family and friends. She enjoys reading, playing soccer and tennis, as well as maintaining her green thumb with a collection of houseplants.
Sheila Fisher – Court Support
Sheila Fisher has been with CMHA-HP since 2007. Sheila began as a volunteer before being hired on contract, then progressed to part-time and eventually full time. Sheila now works as the Huron County Court Support worker.
Sheila came from a fifteen year position at Community Living. She also has experience counseling at a family health team and at Probation and Parole. Her empathy and enjoyment of people have always led her to a career in assisting others.
Sheila earned a Bachelor of Arts in her early twenties but her interest in helping others led her to return to school at 37 years of age. While working part-time, she completed her Bachelor of Social work and went on to complete her Masters of Social Work. She completed both degrees at University of Victoria through virtual education.
Sheila lives North of Goderich, Ontario with her husband, Dennis. They have two adult children who are following their own career paths. Sheila has an interest in camping, nature and loves to travel to see new things.
Tim Ertel – Manager of Finance and Administration
After the majority of Tim’s working life in the golf business, including 25 years as Manager of the Mitchell Golf & Country Club, he welcomed a career change and became Manager of Finance and Administration at CMHA Huron-Perth.
Tim graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1986 with a Diploma in Business Administration and a BA in Economics.
After living in Mitchell for 25 years, Tim, his wife and son and dog Rusty moved to Stratford in November of 2019. They all enjoy all that Stratford has to offer. Tim’s daughter lives and works in London.
In his spare time, Tim likes to travel (though, Sobeys is about as far as he goes now), play golf, go fishing and biking.An avid sports fan, Tim enjoys watching most sports, particularly hockey, golf and football. He also enjoys spending time on his back deck with family and friends overlooking the lawn he just cut for the third time in a week.
Tim enjoys his role at CMHA, particularly the challenges it offers and the interactions with staff and clients.
Tascha Klomp – Case Manager
Tascha Klomp joined the CMHA team in the fall of 2020. It has always been her goal in life to help those who may be struggling within our community in hopes of helping them to live a better more fulfilling life.
In 2011 she graduated from Kings College at the University of Western Ontario with a double major in Criminology and Sociology. During her time there she learned very quickly that she had a passion for helping people, any way that she could.
Tascha has worked within the Stratford community for over 15 years, working at both Family Services and The Rotary Respite House. Becoming a team lead very quickly within the house she had to adapt to new challenges and responsibilities, adjusting plans and situations without notice. This gave her a great ability to think on her feet and make decisions quickly when needed.
She is enjoying being part of a team with CMHA and feels like she truly is making a difference in the lives of the individuals she gets to help on a daily basis.
Brent Meyers – Case Manager
Brent has been working with CMHA-HP since 2014. He has spent the last six and a half years taking on various roles within the agency, such as Case Manager, Program Support Worker, and Transitional Housing Coordinator. Brent is currently working part-time as a Case Manager while he completes his Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Brent’s interest in social work began during his undergrad at the University of Western Ontario where he focused his studies on inequality and the social determinants of health. Following his undergrad, Brent completed a Social Service Worker Diploma from Fanshawe College, which led to a placement with CMHA Middlesex. After completing his placement, he joined the CMHA-HP team, and is grateful for the opportunity to work in the community in which he grew up.
Brent lives in London with his wife and two young children. When he is not busy with work or school, he spends his spare time playing with his kids, watching sports, and cooking.
Emily McPhee – Case Manager
Emily McPhee is a new case manager with the CMHA Huron-Perth branch. Emily has many years of experience in residential mental health and addictions settings. Emily is passionate about bringing her trauma-informed practice. and experience with supporting clients to cope more effectively, to the field of community mental health. Emily has enjoyed meeting clients where they are at, along with working with a knowledgeable and caring team at CMHA!
Emily started her education at the University of Guelph where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to complete a Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health.
Outside of the office you will often find Emily on an adventure with her two dogs; walking a trail or camping in the woods. Other times you may find her tending to her many plants or reading a book.
Jordan Bartosek – Concurrent Disorders
Jordan Bartosek became a permanent employee as a Case Manager in 2020, following a number of contract assignments and successful field placement experiences. He attended Northern College’s Social Service Worker Program. Jordan brings his empathy to people along with his personal experience in overcoming substance abuse. He lives in Goderich with his dog Scrabble and cat Midnight.
Sarah Puddicombe – Program Supervisor
Sarah Puddicombe has been Program Supervisor of the agency’s Case Management Program since 2012. She joined CMHA as a Case Manager in 2004 following a number of years with Family Services Huron Perth and WOTCH Exeter. She brings over 25 years of front line experience in mental health and addictions. She has a diploma from Mowhawk College and has numerous credits from University of Western Ontario. Sarah and her family live in Stratford. They share a passion for boating and being close to Lake Huron in the summer months.
Sue Bain – Case Manager
Sue has enjoyed working creatively with clients and service providers to help meet the needs of the community. Sue has a background in the Social Service Worker – Gerontology diploma program and from University of Waterloo, Renison College, Social Development Studies, B.A. program. She likes to walk, read, swim, and spend time with family and friends in her spare time.