Leanne Boyd, BSW, MSW, RSW
Leanne Boyd has dedicated her life to the promotion of positive mental health and well-being and the prevention of mental health problems and disorders, at the individual and population levels. Boyd is a life-long champion for social justice, equity and human rights for everyone, celebrating people’s strengths, abilities and dreams. Boyd’s public entry to the mental health world was 54 years ago in her Grade 9, St Mary’s Academy class when she won a province-wide Canadian Mental Health Association essay competition for her essay: “Mental Health is Everybody’s Business” and began volunteering at CMHA Open Door Club. Boyd and two volunteers walked Main Street Saturday nights, identifying those living in board and room or on the street with no access to meals on Sundays. They bought or prepared food and opened the Sunday lunch gathering at Immaculate Conception Church. This grew into the Sunday Drop-in, an inner-city cornerstone which is still active today, with a hot meal provided by religious groups of all denominations. Boyd chose a career as a social worker in mental health. For 45 years, she has worked as a mental health clinician, instructor, policymaker, community developer, director, researcher, innovator, mentor, advocate and public speaker and was dedicated to mental health promotion and mental illness prevention, especially for children/youth, their families and communities. Boyd is the recipient of the Marian Award for Excellence, (St Mary’s Academy); Prix Senator Ron Duhamel jointly awarded by provincial/federal governments/ francophone community; MacDonald Youth Services Award for Community Service. Boyd contributed to many national, federal/provincial/territorial boards, committees, research, policy development and innovation task forces and is recognized as a visionary thinker who truly sees an issue from multiple perspectives, analyzes comprehensive and sustainable options and extrapolates the expected, incremental impact of changes over decades. Boyd is an innovator and is known for many firsts in Manitoba, Canada and beyond. She co-led design, construction, staffing and implementation of Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre, a ground-breaking provincial psychiatric hospital for youth. She was part of the provincial design and coordination of the province-wide, advanced training internship in community child/adolescent mental health to improve equity of access to clinicians for children, youth, families, close to their homes, across Manitoba. She was the co-creator of a unique governance model of the Children and Youth Secretariat and Healthy Child Manitoba, legislated under Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet, representing all departments impacting children. Directed by scientific evidence, it operates through horizontal policy decision-making, considering the whole child/youth, in partnership with community. This innovative model of policies, programs, funding structures, research, resulted in impressive outcomes over 25 years, improving the lives of thousands of children, youth, families, communities across Manitoba. Boyd is a trailblazer, risk-taker, a woman of deep faith, integrity and passion; a strategic, visionary, transformative thinker and doer. She has dedicated her positive energy and exceptional commitment to children and youth through 45 years of public service, to increase equity, social justice and well-being for all.