After 33 years of service in the mental health community, Sandy Milakovic is retiring as CMHA Peel’s Chief Executive Officer.
Milakovic began her CMHA career as a psychiatric nurse in 1980 supporting people with mental illness in the community. She then became CMHA Peel’s executive director in 1999 and finally CEO in 2006.
“Over my 33 years with CMHA Peel, I have seen the agency grow exponentially. There are two constants through all the change: the courage and resilience of those experiencing mental illness and the families that support them; and the dedication of our staff,” Milakovic said. “I have been privileged to work in a field I love with these people. I truly believe mental health and addictions are the next frontier for the healthcare system and will watch its progression with a heart full of hope.”
Milakovic is highly regarded amongst her colleagues at CMHA as well as in the local and provincial mental health sector. In recognition of her years of service, she was awarded with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Some of the milestones CMHA Peel achieved during Milakovic’s tenure include:
- Mental Illness awareness training to 1,000 officers and 500 civilian staff within Peel Regional Police.
- The creation of the Mental Health and Justice program in 1998, which recognized the need for supportive interventions for individuals with mental illness that come into contact with the law.
- The first overnight drop-in for homeless men in Peel, later followed by the first homeless shelter for men in the region in 1999.
- The launch of COAST (Crisis Outreach And Support Team) Peel.. A partnership between CMHA Peel, St. Elizabeth Health Care and Peel Regional Police, the COAST Peel team includes a non-uniformed police officer and mental health professional who can respond to crisis calls in Mississauga where appropriate.
- Full accreditation with the Canadian Centre for Accreditation, validating the branch’s commitment to providing the highest quality of service as a health and social service agency.
“Sandy has been a tremendous leader in the mental health system in Ontario for many years, and has been at the forefront of considerable growth and change,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario Division. “She will be sincerely missed by her peers, all of whom admire and respect Sandy. We are all grateful for her dedication to our cause and wish her the very best for a healthy and happy retirement!”
Milakovic’s last day in the office will be January 24, 2014.