CAMH Public Education and Anti-Stigma Program
Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest is CAMH’s longest-standing educational outreach program to high school students and it aims to increase awareness among youth of the causes, treatments, signs, symptoms, and interventions for mental illness, including addiction.
The program was developed in 1987 by nurse case managers at the former Clarke Institute of Psychiatry—one of the founding partners of CAMH—in response to the community's expressed need for education on mental illness, including addiction. Given that 70% of adult mental illnesses have their onset in childhood and adolescence, this education program was aimed towards Ontario high school students.
The name Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest(BTCN) was inspired by the award-winning movie and novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which portrays mental health care as oppressive and stigmatizing. BTCN is designed to dispel common myths around mental illness, including addiction, by paying homage to the move towards creating safe, healing spaces for clients and their families. Getting young people talking and thinking together about their own mental health is one of many ways we engage the audience to confront and break down stigma.