By Kimberly Brathwaite
Stepped Care Solutions (SCS) principles are grounded in diversity and social justice initiatives connected to communities and groups that often face mental health stigma. With this in mind, our Board of Directors considered a title for Dr. AnnMarie Churchill as she continues to lead SCS into the future. They selected President and Lead Executive Officer as her new title, replacing the historical word of “chief” with “lead”. SCS’s commitment to making tangible and actionable changes to support truth and reconciliation efforts is very important to the organization.
The word chief comes from the Latin word caput and the French word “chef”. When European colonizers came to North America, this is what they called Indigenous leaders, even though that was not one of the words that Indigenous People used to describe themselves. Using the term chief can oftentimes trivialize Indigenous Government .
Achieving Wellbeing Everywhere means that SCS must have the courage to implement innovative solutions and collaborate with diverse communities to challenge the status quo. We aim to support those who face barriers to accessing mental health, substance use health and addiction services.
This symbolizes SCS’s dedication to truth and reconciliation, because we know that dropping the word chief is not a solution for the systemic problems that Indigenous communities face. However, by making this change, Stepped Care Solutions recognizes that for some there is pain attached to the term and has opted for the President and Lead Executive Officer title. Acknowledging that this is only one step towards transformation, we have more work to do to have authentic and meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.