RMC’s 128th Convocation Ceremony


Lieutenant-Colonel (Retd) Stéphane Grenier CM, MSC, CD, LLD

Stéphane Grenier is a nationally known mental health innovator, advocate, speaker and entrepreneur. He retired from the Canadian military as a Lieutenant-Colonel after 29 years of service. He participated in several overseas missions, most notably nine months in Rwanda in 1994/95, and six months in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2007. Numerous shorter deployments include Cambodia, Kuwait, the Arabian Gulf, Lebanon, and Haiti, to name a few.

Faced with his own undiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) upon return from Rwanda, he took a personal interest in the way the Canadian Forces were dealing with mental health issues. In 2001, he coined the term Operational Stress Injury (OSI) to reframe perceptions around mental health. He also conceived, developed, implemented and managed a national Peer Support Program for the Canadian military. This program now has 57 offices and close to 70 staff members.

He later created a department-wide workplace mental health education program in 2007. This work led to the launch of a second highly successful, non-clinical mental health program that evolved into Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) which delivers peer-based mental health education in wide use across the military, first responders and trauma-exposed workplaces.

In 2009, he conceived a corporate mental health awareness campaign that was recognized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It was endorsed as an example of corporate leadership in reducing mental health stigmatization in the workplace.

In April 2010, Stéphane was seconded to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to lead the Peer Project and develop the National Standards of Practice for Peer Support. Two years later, the MHCC reorganized its priorities and cancelled the Peer Project. Despite this lack of support, he (along with two individuals who supported growth of peer support in Canada) created a charitable organization to finish the work and commitment of the MHCC.

He also served as a member of the MHCC Workforce Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2012 when this body was closed out.

Stéphane retired from the military in the spring of 2012 and launched Mental Health Innovations (MHI), a social enterprise dedicated to developing non-clinical mental health interventions as a complement to traditional clinical care. MHI has implemented workplace peer support for private and public-sector clients and has developed a wide array of workplace mental health approaches that focus on transforming culture and empowering human connection.

In 2016, Stéphane launched a second company to implement and deliver peer support services within inpatient mental health units at the provincial healthcare system level.

Stéphane received a military commendation for his efforts and leadership during the post-war humanitarian disaster caused by the Rwandan Genocide. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Cross by the Governor General of Canada for taking the concept of peer support and driving it up from the grass roots into a formal federal government program. In 2009, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health recognized him as a Champion of Mental Health, and in 2015, he was awarded an (honorary) Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Guelph and Humber College for his contributions in the field of mental health.

In 2018, he was appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General, an honour he accepts on behalf of the thousands of Canadians who believe that it is possible to transform our mental health system and who work tirelessly each day towards this goal.

Stéphane is an in-demand keynote speaker and published author. His autobiographical book After the War: Surviving PTSD and Changing Mental Health Culture was co-authored by Dr. Adam Montgomery and published by University of Regina Press in February of 2018.

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