CMHA Brandon seeks new name through contest

The Canadian Mental Health Association Westman branch is seeking the public's assistance in a rebrand after concerns that the organization's current name may deter some individuals from acquiring the help they provide.

After more than three decades of operation in Brandon, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Westman Region is undergoing a rebranding, and there is $500 for the individual who comes up with the organization’s new designation.

CMHA Westman has decided to change its name after discussion among its board members suggested its current moniker does not respect people living with mental health issues. Glen Kruck, the organization’s regional manager, said a majority of the people they serve have requested the title be changed after raising concerns about the term “mental.” He suggested more people will access the services and supports they provide if the word – which is considered “stigmatizing” by some – is no longer used by the local association.

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In an effort to get the public involved and further promote the services they provide, the CMHA Westman board decided to host a naming contest. The individual who makes the best suggestion will be rewarded with $500.

“There are two reasons for the contest,” Kruck told The Westman Journal. “One is there’s a basic idea that many minds are smarter than one mind. There are a lot of bright people out there. The other is we are looking for a fresh start with a new name and we want to publicize this as much as possible.”

Since the mid-1980s, CMHA Westman has developed programming and services to improve the lives of people experiencing mental illness in the region. They also provide housing and supports to low-income individuals and families, and serve more than 120 homeless people with emergency housing and other initiatives.

Today, the organization is seeking to expand their influence by developing new programming for students in the city’s school system who have reported issues with anxiety, depression and bullying.

The winning name must meet certain conditions for its author to obtain the prize. Firstly, should multiple people come up with the same idea, the money will go to the first person to submit the name, which may not contain the term “mental.” Kruck suggested that entrants Google the name to ensure it is not being used by another organization in Canada. Those without a computer will have the name checked by CMHA administrators.

“We also don’t want any geographical region or area to be in the name; nothing like Westman, Brandon, Winnipeg or anything,” Kruck said. “We want the opportunity to expand anywhere in Canada.”

No individual can enter more than twice, and the deadline for entries is Sept. 30, 2018.

To enter, simply email your submission to More information about the contest can also be obtained by emailing this address with questions.

For people without Internet access, submissions will be taken on paper via mail or in person at the organization’s Building Re-Fit Store at 23 12th Street in Brandon. If sending your suggestion on paper, you should include your name, address, phone number and the date of your submission. The mailing address includes the postal code R7A 4L6.

“There’s a lot of great minds out there and we’re only going to change our name once, so we want to pick the best name possible,” Kruck said. “That’s why we’re throwing it open for anyone to enter the contest.”

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