Stan Kutcher is a leading psychiatrist and professor who has helped young people successfully manage major mental illnesses. His appointment to the Senate allows him to put decades of medical, academic and policy expertise at the service of all Canadians.
One of three boys born to post-Second World War refugees from Ukraine, he studied history and political science before earning a medical degree from McMaster University. He continued his education in Toronto and in Edinburgh, Scotland before returning to Canada and joining the University of Toronto. He also possesses an honourary degree from St. FX University.
It was in Toronto that he made his first of many major contributions to Canadian health care, taking Sunnybrook Hospital’s adolescent psychiatry division and transforming it into an innovative clinical and research facility. Senator Kutcher also pioneered research into the causes of and treatments for youth with major mental illnesses such as bipolar illness, schizophrenia and depression.
He then became Head of the Psychiatry Department at Dalhousie University followed by appointments as Associate Dean for International Heath and the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health. His work has ranged from clinical research to medical education innovations and he has developed and helped deploy innovative school mental health literacy and youth mental health care capacity building programs in primary health care. Senator Kutcher has published over 400 articles and authored, co-authored or edited numerous books on various aspects of mental health, including adolescent brain development, psychopharmacology, school mental health and suicide.
He has also shared his training and policy development expertise with people and organizations in over 20 countries. He has worked in sub-Saharan Africa, China, Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition to his professional practice, he is involved in his community. He has served on the board of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the board of the Spryfield Boys and Girls Club. He led the development of a national youth mental health framework for Canada as a member of the Child and Youth Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada — which came into being as a direct result of the Senate’s ground-breaking 2006 report, Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.
He has also received numerous awards and honours for his work, including the Order of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Naomi Rae-Grant and Paul D. Steinhauer Advocacy awards, the McMaster University Distinguished Alumni Award and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada’s John Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Education.
As a senator, he continues to advocate on behalf of young people with mental illness while representing the interests of Nova Scotians in Parliament.
He is married to Jan Sheppard Kutcher, whose work has addressed the successful integration of immigrants into their professional careers in Canada. They live in Herring Cove, Nova Scotia, and have three adult children and seven grandchildren.