AshdownBill Ashdown was diagnosed with severe depression, (later bipolar disorder) at the start of his business career. Since that time, he went on to effectively turn his disorder into a series of career opportunities.  As both someone who lives with a persistently recurring illness, and a family member of others with similar disorders, he has a wealth of experience in dealing with mood disorders.

For twelve years, Mr. Ashdown served as the Executive Director of the  Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, building the organization  from a single desk in a borrowed office, to a network of eleven regional offices and 18 staff members. The Association became one of the largest  and most influential organizations in the mood disorders self-help community in the world.

In 1995, he founded, and was the first President of the Mood Disorders Association of Canada. Originally set up to represent the various provincial mood disorders organizations across Canada, the organization was expanded in 2000, and its mandate broadened, to include all interested Canadians. At that time it was reincorporated and a new name,  Mood Disorders Society of Canada, was adopted. Currently he is the Vice-President of the new Society.

Mr. Ashdown is the Chairman of the Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, (formerly the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association of the United States.)  This organization is, by far, the largest organization of its kind in the world, with over 1,000 support groups and chapters, stretching over ten nations. In 2002, the Alliance had individual contacts with more than 2,000,000 individuals. Mr. Ashdown is the first non-American board member in the history of the Association.

Additionally, Mr. Ashdown serves on a number of boards for organizations in both Canada and the United States. He is a founding member of the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), one of the strongest voices for mental healthcare in Canada.  The alliance is made up of five national organizations concerned with mental illness and mental health: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, the National Network for Mental Health and the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. CAMIMHís primary goal is to support the development of a national action strategy on mental illness and mental health. To that end, it developed a discussion document to anchor a national consultation process.  The paper, A Call for Action: Building Consensus for a National Action Plan on Mental Illness and Mental Health has been translated, printed, and broadly disseminated.

Additional board appointments include: the (Manitoba) Provincial Advisory Committee for Mental Health, advising Manitobaís Minister of Health, the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Psychiatric Associationís Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society. As well, he sits on a variety of specialist committees and working groups involved in various aspects of mental health care.
An active commentator on mental health and illness issues, he has appeared extensively in the media and at conferences across North America and Europe. As well, he has written and contributed to publications, including Macleans and Reader’s Digest, among others, and scores of newspapers and newsletters. He designed and edited the Manitoba Association’s newsletter for ten years.  As well, he has appeared before several Parliamentary Committees and Sub-Committees, and has served as an expert witness in a number of  cases before the Courts.

As an educator, Mr. Ashdown developed a number of major programs on various aspects of mood disorders, resulting in hundreds of presentations throughout North America. He has also participated in several educational videos on mood disorders in both Canada and the United States. As a peer counsellor, he has met and worked with many thousands of individuals and families over the years, in order to offer information, support and assistance.
Based in Winnipeg, he divides his time between public speaking throughout North America, and working in the development of organizations for people with mood disorders

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