Cultivating Culture


Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)


Establish an ethics program to support risk reduction and improve client care.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) helps some of our country’s most at-risk citizens: those suffering from mental illness and addiction. CMHA prides itself on meeting the highest standards of quality care in order to best serve clients and to maintain a high-ranking status with Accreditation Canada.

To meet its risk reduction objectives and improve overall care, CMHA identified a need to support staff in making sound, ethical decisions in a timely manner.




Build a cutting-edge ethics program and provide training to aid staff in making effective ethical decisions in the field.

During the assessment phase, we quickly learned that a typical five-step reasoning process was less than ideal for staff working in a sensitive and complex field like mental healthcare. So we built an organization-wide ethics program for CMHA from the ground up. Rooted in contemporary cognitive science research, our program employed a flexible decision-making framework that emphasized self-reflection and principle-based ethical reasoning.

Staff were taught how to use the new program and processes in five engaging one-hour sessions. These live training sessions were supported with ongoing social media-based learning activities, including blogging, the creation of a wiki, and participation in online forums. Learners were assisted in defining their own moral identity and were taught how to apply the ethics framework in a practical setting.




CMHA reported improvements in efficiency and ethical decision-making activities and saw a reduction in risk-related events.

CMHA was successful in achieving full accreditation from Accreditation Canada and is now supported with an innovative ethics framework to enhance business performance and patient care going forward. And because this system was developed to reflect CMHA’s own organizational values and services, these processes are firmly entrenched in their workplace culture.

“Dialectic really took the time and effort to fully understand the breadth and depth of our organization and the clients we serve.”
Anna Tersigni - Risk Manager
Anna Tersigni
Risk Manager

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