About Us

Welcome to your national network - together we can transform youth mental health and substance use (YMHSU) systems in order to ensure that youth receive the right care at the right time from the right provider in Canada.

Our Vision

All youth, young adults, and their families have access to the help they need to be well, when they need it, in the context in which they live. 

Our Mission

Frayme leads a national network that connects mental health, health and social services working with youth and young adults to accelerate the integration and implementation of youth care in Canada.

Great things happen when great people come together. We believe in building relationships through information sharing and collaboration with partners.
We incorporate diverse perspectives by providing opportunities for all persons to be heard especially those who have been underserved or under-represented.
We recognize the importance of being open, genuine, supportive, and ethical in all we do.
Meaningful Engagement
We engage and collaborate with youth, family, Indigenous partners, service providers and researchers to support system transformation.

Shauna MacEachern

Executive Director (On Maternity Leave until February 2024)

Shauna (she/her) is a system change professional who takes great joy in diving into complex and head-scratching transformative efforts. Driven by a commitment to social justice and deconstructing inequitable systems of service Shauna firmly believes in a human-centred approach to her work. Having worked to enhance outcomes for children, youth and their families in the Mental Health and Substance use system for over 15 years Shauna believes that working together at community,provincial/territorial,and national levels is instrumental in eliminating fragmentation. Through her own journey with mental health challenges and supporting those she cares about Shauna knows the benefit of designing solutions with those who use service. When Shauna isn’t working with the fantastic #FraymeFam and all their great partners she is dabbling in community theatre and watching birds. Shauna has three awesome mini humans and is a sometimes soccer coach and all-time Greek mythology fan.

Nitika Rewari

Interim Executive Director

Nitika (she/her) is an impassioned people-centered leader and mental health advocate, whose dedication to creating a better mental health and substance use system has been the driving force of her career of over 20 years. With her experience as a first-generation immigrant, caregiver, daughter, sister, wife, and mother, Nitika has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people in Canada by addressing the challenges of mental health and substance use. As a leader who values people and solutions, Nitika firmly believes that the best possible outcomes emerge when national-level dialogue intersects with partnerships at the community and individual levels. By working together, she is confident that we can create a Canada where everyone can live and thrive. Nitika's own experiences with mental health challenges have informed her perspective and fueled her dedication to ensuring a strong health-equity focus in mental health care in Canada. Her vision is to create a Canada free of stigma surrounding mental illness, where seeking help for mental health concerns is normalized.

Tamir Virani

Senior Strategic Communications and Marketing Lead

Tamir (He/Him) is Frayme’s Senior Marketing and Communications Lead. Tamir has worked in the healthcare industry for 8+ years leading communications, marketing, advocacy and policy work across different sectors including quality improvement, end-of-life care and mental health. Prior to this, Tamir worked as a journalist and as a peer support worker at the University of Ottawa. Tamir holds a postgraduate degree in journalism and communications and a Masters of Health Administration from the Telfer School of Management. Outside of work, Tamir freelances as a videographer and graphic designer and has won many people over with his skor cookie recipe. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Centretown Community Health Centre based in Ottawa. As someone with lived experience, Tamir is passionate about mental health advocacy and hopes his work at Frayme will help build an integrated system that won’t let anyone who needs support slip through the cracks.

Alana Salsberg

Senior Strategic Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement Lead

Alana Salsberg is a mom of 3 kids and a passionate advocate of mental health system change. Alana's drive is informed by her deep lived experience as a mom to a child who manages mental illness and as a marketing and communications professional who, having worked on the early #BellLet'sTalk digital campaigns, knows the power of effective engagement in propelling change. Alana has worked as a consultant to CMHA National and most recently was the Program Lead for Big White Wall, a 24/7 online peer to peer support service commissioned by OTN and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health as part of efforts to democratize access to psychotherapy in Ontario. Out of work hours, Alana goes in search of green space with her 2 badly behaved dogs as much as possible and pokes at her garden hopefully but largely unsuccessfully.

Micaela Harley

Senior Engagement and Knowledge Equity Lead

Micaela Harley (she/her) is a strategic change maker in the Youth Mental Health and Substance Use System, with a focus on the inclusion of lived and living expertise within this work. Micaela’s passion for change in this area began in her early teen years, stemming from her own personal experiences as both a direct service user and a youth providing caregiving support to a loved one who was struggling. Utilizing these experiences, along with her professional and educational knowledge, she has advised and implemented a variety of youth mental health and substance use projects within local, national and international contexts. At Frayme, Micaela works strategically to ensure the expertise of youth, caregiver and advocates are embedded through the work being done internal to Frayme and externally within the system. When Micaela is not working, she enjoys painting, reading, watching Netflix, and going on adventures. Additionally, Micaela has graduated from the Bachelor of Social Work program at Carleton University and Masters of Applied Health Sciences degree at Western University.

Heather McLaughlin

Operations Lead

Heather (she/her) is Frayme’s Operations Lead. She has worked in the mental health and addiction system for 15 years, most recently with the CAMH’s Provincial System Support Program, providing quality administrative and operations support at both the provincial and local level. Outside of work, Heather enjoys reading, watches far too much Netflix, and is a karaoke enthusiast. She is excited to commence her graduate studies at Carleton University in the fall in Communications.

Julia Solimine

Communications and Policy Specialist

Julia (she/her) is Frayme’s Communication and Policy Specialist. With a background in both the non-profit and for-profit world, Julia has expertise in strategic communications, storytelling, copywriting and graphic design. In her off time, you can find her working on her latest painting, attempting to get her pasta dough recipe to a Nonna-approved standard, or hanging out with her Potcake Acer.

Szerena Szabo

Digital Social Media Specialist

Szerena (she/her) is Frayme's Digital Social Media Coordinator. Her background in environmental science and interactive media has given her the opportunity to work in several digital marketing and social media roles within fields such as sustainability and assistive technology. While completing her science degree, her passion for storytelling and design became clear as she led a research study on the ethical and managerial implications of false environmental marketing claims. It was later published in the Journal of Business Ethics and featured in the Globe and Mail. Upon realizing how closely environmental issues are linked with our mental and physical health, she recognized the importance of knowledge mobilization and has devoted her time to helping others communicate their social and environmental impact. With lived experience, Szerena is dedicated to bridging Canada's mental health gap for future generations. Outside of work, she loves to be creative in the kitchen, sit in cafés, and look for ways to build more community.

Kristy Allen

Knowledge Mobilization Specialist

Kristy Allen (she/her) is Frayme’s Knowledge Mobilization Specialist. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree, with a concentration in Social Inequities in Health, from Simon Fraser University. She is passionate about knowledge mobilization and knowledge equity, and believes that community engagement is the key to creating sustainable programs and services. Through her personal experiences, she advocates for youth and caregivers to be key stakeholders in youth mental health system transformation. Kristy lives just outside of Muskoka, Ontario, and is an avid hiker, skier, yogi, and can often be found with her sidekick, Moose the dog.

Daniel Gorecki

Project Specialist

Daniel (he/him) is Frayme’s Project Specialist. Throughout his academic and professional career, Daniel has gained a wide variety of skills while specializing in competency-based development, evaluation planning and implementation, and quality improvement. While completing his Master of Public Health, Daniel designed, implemented, and analyzed the “Improving Family & Caregiver Supports in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A)” project, which identified gaps that parents and caregivers of youth living with mental health issues commonly experience. The project surveyed over 500 families in the KFL&A region and provided recommendations to task forces, steering committees, and local organizations, advocating for system level improvements. Outside of work hours, you can find Daniel coaching youth basketball in the Toronto area or searching out cafes for his favourite dessert, Cheesecake.

Luc Grey

Knowledge Equity Specialist

Luc (he/they) is a passionate mental health professional with experience in educational programming, participatory research and stakeholder engagement. His work collectively has involved safer storytelling and creating awareness to address social determinants of health and systemic barriers to affirming mental health care. Identifying as a polyqueer neurodivergent cis white man, Luc brings his own lived expertise and cultural humility practices with ongoing efforts to self-reflect and practice awareness of their societal privileges. Luc is also a settler committed to unlearning and relearning the history of the colonized lands where he was born and resides. His work in program design and capacity building has allowed him to bring an equity, accessibility and participation lens to his work. Luc enjoys spending time in nature (loves a walk in the park or being by or on the water), with loved ones (including two cats) and enjoying activities such as political/social dramas, yoga and various cuisines.

Cynthia Joyce

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As founder of the consulting firm GiveResearch LLC, Cynthia Joyce works to advance innovation and better health for individuals affected by disorders of the brain and mind and for their families. With 30+ years of experience in the research funding, fundraising and industry, and having lived and worked in the US and the UK, she brings a unique perspective to the challenges facing the healthcare system in the post-pandemic world.

Most recently, Cynthia Joyce was Executive Director of the MQ Foundation based in New York. The MQ Foundation is an affiliate of the international charity MQ: transforming mental health research where she was founding chief executive (2021-2018). In prior years, Cynthia has served as Executive Director of the SMA Foundation (NY) and Executive Director of the American Academy of Neurology Foundation (MN); she has also held positions in industry (Ciba-Geigy and Cephalon). She holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MS from the University of Minnesota.

Cynthia currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Frayme, a Canadian knowledge-exchange project focused on adolescent mental healthcare and for the Graham Boeckh Foundation (Montreal). She also serves in an advisory capacity for the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF) and has just joined the Mental Health Science Council of MQ.

Jeff Boyd

Chair, Board of Directors
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As Regional President for Alberta and the Territories for RBC Royal Bank, Jeff leads a Team of over 2,500 employees in providing financial advice and services to RBC’s Personal, Small Business and Commercial clients in the Region. Since joining RBC in 1995, Jeff has held a variety of increasingly responsible positions including senior leadership roles in both Retail and Commercial Banking and National Sales Strategy. Prior to assuming his current role in 2014, he was Regional President, Ontario North & East.

Jeff is an active and dedicated community leader, including his involvement on the boards of Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, Arts Commons and FRAYME, as well as the Advisory Board for the University of Alberta Business School. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Allison University, the FICB from the Canadian Securities Institute and has completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Education Program.

Mike DeGagné

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Dr. Mike DeGagné helps indigenous students find, and achieve, their life purpose in his role as President and CEO of Indspire, Canada’s largest indigenous charity. He previously served as President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University, in northern Ontario, Canada.

In 1998, Dr. DeGagné became the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation where for 15 years he worked to encourage and support community developed, delivered, and culturally based initiatives addressing the intergenerational effects of abuses suffered in the Indian residential school system. In recognition of his support for residential school survivors and First Nations communities, Dr. DeGagné was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada – Canada’s highest civilian honour – in 2014, and was also awarded the Order of Ontario.

Alisa Simon

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As Executive Vice President, Chief Youth & Innovation Officer At Kids Help Phone, Alisa Simon is a celebrated leader with extensive experience and expertise strengthening the role and impact of digital mental health and the transformation of Canada’s youth mental health landscape. Through her position at Kids Help Phone, Alisa has helped lead the extraordinary evolution of the organization into a technology-enabled, data-driven e-mental health solution. This has included a focus on building innovative digital health systems that break down barriers to care by changing the way care is delivered, measured and received.

Under Alisa’s leadership, Kids Help Phone has evolved from a phone-based helpline to a comprehensive solution that fully integrates a growing number of access points, programs and resources. Achieving a record 4.6 million interactions in 2020 – a 137 per cent increase over 2019 – the organization is now in a position to double service capacity over the next three years. In addition to overseeing Kids Help Phone’s clinical operations, Alisa is responsible for innovation, quality assurance and equity programs as well as the organization’s government relations strategy, working closely with provincial and federal government representatives and stakeholders to advance thought leadership, guide policy and build partnerships.

In 2013, Alisa was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her transformational impact on youth mental health. She is a member of Digital Health Canada’s CHIEF Executive Forum, the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s e-Mental Health Collaborative and the National Collaborative for Suicide Prevention. In addition, she is a sought after speaker discussing the role of technology and data in driving e-mental health solutions and the experience of young people across Canada.

Florence Dzierszinski

Chair, Governance Committee
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Dr. Florence Dzierszinski is the President of The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, and Vice-President of Research at The Royal. In this role, Dr. Dzierszinski champions the next chapter in ground breaking mental health research and fosters an integrated research and clinical model at The Royal, driven by the needs and experiences of clients and families in our region.

Dr. Dzierszinski has a strong track record of health research - including a CIHR Canada Research Chair at McGill University and awards from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) among others. She is well known for her organizational leadership supporting research excellence and has been instrumental in increasing research grant and partnership opportunities for researchers.

Dr. Dzierszinski is passionate about building an environment where research can thrive and where science, care and lived experience combine to create better futures for all people impacted by mental illness.

Amanee Elchehimi

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Like many, Amanee’s work in the mental health field is not purely a professional endeavour. She is privileged to bring an intersectional lens to this work, with personal lived experience, academic studies and training, and over a decade of professional experience in the field.

Amanee has worked in the social services field for nearly a decade and is currently the Director, Health Promotion at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society in the Lower Mainland in BC. She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from SFU, as well as a Master’s of Public Health from SFU. She began her career working as a youth worker with immigrants, refugees, ethno-cultural, and racialized individuals, families, and communities. Amanee is also certified mental health first aid instructor and enjoys designing and delivering various mental health workshops and trainings.

Prior to her current role at DIVERSEcity, she was privileged to work in the Downtown Eastside and Surrey as the Manager of the Pathways to Education program and supported several education programs at Pacific Community Resources Society. Recently, she served as a member of the Family Advisory Committee with FRAYME, and previously served as a member and chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Youth Advisory Council, supporting mental health policy and practice across Canada.

As an active member of the Muslim community, Amanee grounds her principles and work in her identity as a Muslim woman. She strongly believes that equity and justice are critical for meaningful, systemic change. As such, she is driven by her values and principles and is committed to supporting the wellbeing of children, youth and families in the community.

Pratik Nair

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Pratik Nair (he/him) is a public health professional with experience working on issues of farmer suicide, substance use, and youth mental health. Currently, he serves on the Health & Wellness team at the University of Toronto St George launching and overseeing the Health & Wellness Peer Support Service (a non-clinical mental health intervention) and student engagement efforts. His interests include postvention, non-clinical intervention, and influencing systems to provide young people with choices to support their mental health. Outside of work, Pratik is playing basketball, fishing, or geeking out on military history.

Caroline Pitfield

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Caroline Pitfield is a lawyer by training and a policy leader in practice. After a short stint in corporate litigation, she obtained a Masters of Law in Health Law and Policy. She subsequently joined the federal public service as Legal Counsel to Health Canada. Over the next 17 years, she held various senior executive positions at Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, and in the Public Safety Portfolio. Caroline also supported two federal Ministers of Health as the Director of Policy. In January 2022, she took a leave from government to work more directly with organizations in the health and mental health sector, including as a senior associate with Santis Health. 

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