Recognizing the lack of Community Mental Health Support Services within the county, a group of concerned individuals met in January of 1985 to discuss the benefits of forming a steering committee to work on the establishment of a local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. With input from CMHA-Ontario Division consultants, a second meeting was held to plan strategy for the establishment of a broad community based steering committee. This meeting was held in Council Chambers of the County Courthouse on March 4, 1985. The response to this meeting was very positive and nominations and acceptance to the positions on the chartering committee were unanimous.

Following a number of community awareness presentations, media releases and Mental Health Week activities, an application was made to Ontario Division for a Branch Charter for Oxford County. In June of l985, the Board of Directors of Ontario Division passed a motion granting charter status to the Oxford County Steering Committee. Formal presentation of the branch charter was made at a special public awareness presentation on November 5, 1985.

Our first paid employee, Carole Nudds, was hired in March of 1986. The Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodge and anonymous donors as well as seed funding from the United Way, provided financial support. Since that time CMHA-Oxford has played an active role in advocating for the establishment of the local chapter of the Alzheimer Society, Maplewood Counselling, Oxford Child and Youth Centre, community case management and Oxford Self Help Network.

Beginning with a staff of one providing services involving public education, community development and informal supports, CMHA-Oxford has evolved into an organization that currently has 45 full time employees and 40 volunteers providing service in two main programs. These programs are the Community of Oxford Support and Treatment Team and Education/Volunteer Services. The community of Oxford Support and Treatment Team includes 24 hour mobile crisis response, intensive case management, dual diagnosis supports, psycho-geriatric supports, concurrent disorder supports, court diversion & court supports and independent supportive housing and Private Landlords. All programs are provided throughout Oxford County and offices are located in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg.

Volunteers have played a vital role in the establishment, growth and delivery of services for CMHA-Oxford. Without their contributions CMHA would not exist. Volunteers have been involved in board and committee work, educational presentations, fundraising and informal supports to community individuals and direct service clients.

1985 Charter Status
1986 First Employee, Public Education Program
1988 Incorporation, HAND program (social recreation)
1990 Housing Advocacy Program
1991 Low support permanent housing with Case ManagementEstablishment of Oxford Self Help Network as a consumer initiative program of CMHA
1992 Oxford Self Help Network becomes independent in December of 1992
1994 Case management and housing expanded to Ingersoll and Tillsonburg
1995 Social Recreation Program taken over by Oxford Self Help Network in Woodstock – continues underCMHA in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg with an expanded volunteer role
1996 Housing Advocacy Program terminatedEstablishment of Woodstock Co-ordinated Services
1997 Oxford Crisis Program
1999 Formation of the Community of Oxford Support and Treatment Team Program.24 hour Crisis Response Service, (an amalgamation of CMHA case management program, Oxford Crisis and Woodstock General Hospital Outreach Program)
2001 Start of the Homelessness Initiative and Intensive Case management. Strategic/Business Plan
2004 Completion of New Building/Facility
2005 Start of Court Diversion/Court Support Services Children’s Mental Health Crisis Responsecollaboration with Oxford Child and Youth CentreStrategic/Business Plan 2005 – 2008
2006 Concurrent Disorder Case Management Services Dual Diagnosis Case Management Services
2007 Opening of New facility in Tillsonburg Psycho-geriatric Case Management ServicesEducation Review3 year Accreditation Award with Accreditation Canada
2010 Celebrating 25 years of Service to Oxford County Additional 3 year Accreditation Award withAccreditation Canada
2011 Revised Strategic Plan