A renowned Nova Scotia-based doctor who is an expert in adolescent mental health and a leader in mental-health research, advocacy, training and policy development, has been appointed to the Senate of Canada.
Dr. Stan Kutcher, a professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University, has been involved in mental-health work in over 20 countries and serves as the Sun Life financial chair in Adolescent Mental Health at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre.
He has received several distinctions over the course of his career, including being named to the Order of Nova Scotia.
“He was instrumental in the development of the Life Sciences Development Association, the Brain Repair Centre, and the International Health Office,” a news release from the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] reads.
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In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Kutcher said the appointed “is an honour.”
Also appointed to the Senate was Northwest Territories public servant Margaret Anderson, former Yukon premier Pat Duncan, and Ontario’s Rosemary Moodie, who specializes in newborn health. The PMO says the four new senators were recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments and chosen using the process open to all Canadians.
“These four new independent senators bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit Parliament and all of Canada. They know what it means to serve, and have dedicated their careers to making a difference in the lives of others,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with them on issues that matter most to Canadians.”
Kutcher ran for the Liberals in the Halifax riding during the 2011 federal election, where he was defeated by Megan Leslie with the NDP.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent Senate appointment was made in October when Prince Edward Island Mi’kmaq community leader Brian Francis and Ontario lawyer Josée Forest-Niesing received the honour.
Kutcher travelled to Cape Breton last year following a spate of teen suicides, including a 13-year-old transgender boy who was bullied through social media. He presented seven recommendations to the Nova Scotia government, saying a comprehensive approach is needed on teen mental health, which he described as a complex social problem.
Kutcher recommended a provincial policy be developed to address students’ responsible use of personal devices such as cellphones on school grounds, as well as stated that a wider public discussion needs to take place on where responsibilities lie.
As a result of Kutcher’s recommendations, the Nova Scotia government said it would immediately spend an additional $192,000 boosting mental-health supports at the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, which asked for more help in the wake of the suicides.
— With files from The Canadian Press