About us - La Clé des champs
In the beginnings, our organization was an open mutual aid group. Unsubsidized, the group was hosted by the Ahuntsic CLSC. People would come freely to look for information and share their experience without any strings attached.
In early 1994, we set up a new mutual aid approach by creating a pilot project composed of twelve selected people. We defined the working rules in order to stimulate trust, mutual respect and personal engagement concerning the group. The themes were chosen by the group and the participants would lead the group turn by turn, on a voluntary basis. This new formula yielded excellent results, prompting us in adopting it for yet more groups from 1994 to 1998.
We became incorporated in December of 1994, and since 1995, we are subsidized by l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal. This subsidy allowed us to hire permanent staff. Our board of directors is mostly composed of member-users, people from the health and social services domain and specialists whose competences are useful to the organization.
Our organization enjoys recognition amongst the mental health specialists in the region. Our participants come from Montreal and its peripheries.
In 1998, La Clé des champs started to gather documentation in order to provide the meetings' participants with tools to overcome anxiety disorders.
Dr. Léon Larouche, psychiatrist at the anxiety and depressive disorders clinic of the Hôpital Sacré-Coeur, considerably helped our team by orienting our research towards the cognitive-behavioral approach.
From year to year, the documentation offered to members has become ever more structured.
Starting in the 90's, la Clé des champs was quite regularly invited on TV shows, on radio shows and many reports appeared in newspapers and magazines.
This exposure increased the demand from everywhere in the province and beyond. Provided that we are a Montreal organization, we were not in a position to address the requests from beyond the Montreal area.
In 2001, the organization was granted a subsidy from the Funds the health of Canadians from Health Canada to develop a kit composed of video as well as audio documents, and a work manual to spread La Clé des champs particular model of intervention.
Demand was increasing at such a pace that it had become unavoidable to launch a whole new component to our organization: The editions La Clé des champs.
With the support of Fonds d'économie locale and of CDEC Ahuntsic-Bordeaux-Cartierville, we were in a position to buy the necessary equipment and to move to a new and bigger location.
What is characteristic of our documents is that they are redacted in the form of work books – like schoolbooks – and that they may be used by individuals as well as mental health specialists.
Their dynamic conception is a good combination of information on anxiety disorders, on the cognitive therapeutic approach, examples based on real life experiences from people with anxieties and exercises to practice techniques to overcome anxiety disorders.
People using our services are people suffering from anxiety, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, schools, Centres de services sociaux from the province and community organizations. All documents are available both in French and English, with the exception of the two videos. The model was tested on mutual aid groups and in CLSCs throughout the province. The results were satisfactory.
As soon as it was released, the kit was in demand in the mental health domain, thanks to word of mouth. It got big to the point where we had to set up our own publishing company for the production and sale of our documents.