Jay Peterson’s Posters for the Canadian Mental Health Association – London-Middlesex Branch, Mental Health Week, 1952

The local media here in London, Ontario, Canada frequently publishes articles regarding mental health issues.  Lately, there have been quite a few covering the crisis that is occurring in this city.  In fact, the situation has become so acute that there are plans in the works to establish a 24-hour Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Centre.  Deputy London Police Chief, John Pare, who will be taking over as chief of police on May 2, 2015, said in a recent interview that mental health is “one of the key focuses.”

This crisis is not only happening in London.  The Mental Health Commission of Canada states that “[i]n any given year, one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness, with a cost to the economy of well in excess of $50 billion.”  A Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, December 2014 survey found that the number of people reporting difficulties climbed from 4.7 per cent in 2003 to 7.1 per cent in 2013.  This represents 716,000 individuals.

Fortunately, there are ways for people to learn more about addressing psychological difficulties.  One of the key sources is the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).  It was founded in 1918, and provides “direct service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff in 140-plus communities.”

I am pleased to say that my mother, Jay Peterson (1920-1976), was an artist volunteer for the CMHA – London-Middlesex Branch (now CMHA Middlesex).  She created two posters for the Mental Health Week, which was held May 4-10, 1952.

Here is my mother’s dysfunctional family montage:

Jay Peterson’s Dysfunctional Family Artwork, 1952

In 2006, I had an article published in the CMHA Ontario magazine, Network, in which I provided some background information about her contribution.  Here is an excerpt:

The Public Utilities Commission displayed this artwork in a large window during Mental Health Week.  The posters were also put on view at the May 26, 1952 executive meeting so members could see their effectiveness.  In addition, photographs were sent to the “Toronto head office” of the CMHA.

However, neither the magazine nor online versions of my article included the actual artwork.  So I am happy to include these images with this post.

Below is my mother’s functional family one:

Jay Peterson’s Functional Family Artwork, 1952

I will leave it up to you to decide if you think these posters are still relevant today.

Victor Aziz Sr. (1923-2008) took these photos.  His son, Victor Aziz Jr., still runs the family business, Victor Aziz Photography (www.azizphoto.com), here in London.  Victor Jr. has provided me with a “full release of rights to images our studio took of your mother’s artwork. . .” [email to author, February 16, 2015].

Since 1951, the CMHA has been having Mental Health Weeks during the first week of May.  This year the focus is “the mental health and well-being of men and boys, and, as always, encourages people of all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect, and engage others on issues related to mental health and mental wellness.”  You can find out more at mentalhealthweek.cmha.ca.


Canadian Mental Health Association.  About CMHA.  Retrieved February 16, 2015 from Mental Health Week: mentalhealthweek.cmha.ca

Canadian Mental Health Association.  Get Loud for Mental Health.  Mental Health Week: mentalhealthweek.cmha.ca, January 16, 2015.

Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex.  Proposed Location for the Mental Heath & Addictions Crisis Centre.  CMHA Middlesex: cmhamiddlesex.ca, January 30, 2015.

Grant, Tavia.  How Canadian employers are tackling the terrain where office culture, productivity and mental health intersect.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com, February 1, 2015.

Mental Health Commission of Canada.  The Facts.  Retrieved February 16, 2015 from Mental Health Strategy: strategy.mentalhealthcommision.ca.

Meyer, Sean.  Deputy Chief John Pare London’s 19th chief of police.  London Community News:  londoncommunitynews.com, February 12, 2015.

O’Brien, Jennifer.  That’s ‘PAIR-ree’ but call him chief.  London Free Press: lfpress.com, February 14, 2015.

Peterson, Leith.  Education is the key.  CMHA Ontario: ontariocmha.ca/network/education-is-the-key, Fall 2006.

Peterson, Leith.  Education is the key.  Network 22.2, Fall 2006, p. 12-13.

Richmond, Randy.  Crisis Centre still awaits OK, cash.  London Free Press, January 31, 2015, p. A9.