From Tragedy to Triumph: How the Courtnall Society Is Supporting Mental Health


© Courtesy of Courtnall Society for Mental Health

“Life has its challenges, but together we can make sure no one’s left behind,” said Geoff Courtnall, Executive Vice President of the Courtnall Society for Mental Health (CSMH).

Mental health conditions are becoming more prevalent worldwide, affecting people of all ages and genders and from all walks of life. One in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness each year. Statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Victoria Foundation, and other government agencies show that 900,000 British Columbians are currently experiencing mental health or substance use problems. By age 40, about 50 per cent of us will have or have had a mental illness—which makes understanding mental illness important for those struggling today and those who may struggle tomorrow.

Founded in 2021 by brothers Geoff, Russ, and Bruce, CSMH is dedicated to improving access to life-changing community-centric mental health services by raising funds and providing grants for essential programs and services.

For the Courtnall brothers, the fight for better access to mental health services is personal. Their father Archie struggled with depression during a time when mental health was not openly spoken about, and often those struggling often did not have access to the life-saving services they needed. In his memory, the brothers have participated in various events, including hosting three Courtnall Celebrity Classic golf tournaments. They have raised millions of dollars for mental health initiatives, including a Psychiatric Emergency Services facility housed in the Archie Courtnall Centre at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC. Their efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health discussions are so others don’t have to go through what their family did.

On top of the increase in mental health conditions and the personal toll it takes, mental health presents a sizeable economic burden. In Canada alone, the cost of mental illness is estimated at over $50 billion per year—including healthcare costs, lost productivity, and health-related quality of life declines. Today, more than one in two struggling Canadians are not getting the mental health help they need, whether because mental health community organizations can’t meet the demand for their programs and services or because those in need face barriers to accessing those services.

CSMH envisions a world where people are comfortable talking about their mental health and where help is available and accessible in every community. As Society President Bruce Courtnall says, “Being open about our struggles allows us to find solutions.”

Through the lens of their four pillars, substance use, suicide prevention, children and youth and community integration, CSMH is dedicated to supporting organizations that help individuals get the assistance they need when and where they need it most.

“We believe that by supporting community-based organizations through our grants, we can improve individuals’ access to help in order to build healthy and supportive networks in their community,” the brothers explained.

Thanks to the society’s donors, partners, and fundraising efforts, CSMH announced over $100,000 in grants to eight organizations offering vital mental health services in Victoria and Vancouver in its first year of full-time operations.

Canadians face many challenges, from social isolation and financial insecurity to substance use concerns, and everyone’s experiences are different. Still, there is hope—with the proper support, things can get better, and with a range of community-centric initiatives focused on providing help in many different ways, that support does exist.

“Mental health affects everyone,” said Russ Courtnall, Society Vice President. “Let’s start talking about it.”

Join the conversation today by participating in fundraising initiatives and charity events, or volunteering.

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Courtnall Society for Mental Health, formerly known as the Courtnall Celebrity Classic Society, was founded to raise funds and awareness for mental health.


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