Mental health charity reeling amid resignations over suspicions about leader’s alleged secret identity


An Ottawa charity focused on the well-being of black, Indigenous and LGBTQ youth is in disarray after staff quit and speakers pulled out of a recent conference because they believe the group’s leader has multiple aliases and a history of taking her enemies to court. Maxine Adwella is known as the head of the National Collaboration for Youth Mental Health (NCYMH), which, according to its website, has spent nearly 20 years advocating for racially and culturally specific mental health services for young people. However, a recent court judgment concluded that a woman named Maxine Adwella is actually an alias used by Althea Reyes, a woman with a criminal past who was declared a vexatious litigant in 2017 for repeatedly launching civil proceedings to “harass her foes,” as the judge put it.

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