Meet the 2019 Champions of Mental Health

Ottawa, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

On April 4, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) announced the 2019 Champions of Mental Health Awards, recognizing 7 recipients who are making outstanding contributions to mental health across the country. The winners will be recognized at the Champions of Mental Health Awards Gala today in Ottawa.

The 2019 Champions of Mental Health are:

The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth: Brianne Moore is a long time mental health advocate. In high school, she became active in I Matter U Matter, which focuses on increasing mental health awareness and helping young people to develop coping strategies. Brianne now speaks at high schools and to healthcare providers, advocates provincially and is a National Chair of Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication (CEADM).

Media: Ace Burpee has worked in radio for over a decade and is well known for the hundreds of charitable events and causes that he donates his time to every year. Currently the host of his own show on 103.1 Virgin Radio in Winnipeg, Ace has been a long-time advocate and strong supporter for those living with mental illness. Ace is also a major part of Project 11, a program to raise awareness about mental-health issues for Manitoba students. He hosted Project 11’s first annual symposium and is featured in their videos.

Community (Individual): Albert McLeod is a Board Director with Two-Spirited People of Manitoba. A survivor of mental illness and trauma, Albert has been mentored by traditional elders and healers to learn about Indigenous approaches to emotional, mental, and psychological healing. Specializing in HIV/AIDS and Indigenous peoples, cultural reclamation and cross-cultural training, Albert works collaboratively with other Two-Spirit leaders to advocate for recognition of Two-Spirit rights and their inclusion at all levels of society.

Community (Organization): Stella’s Circle is a non-profit organization in St. John’s that helps transform lives by working with people facing barriers to full participation in the community, the majority of whom have a mental illness or addiction. Stella’s Circle offers programs in three areas, housing, counselling, and employment, and builds community through innovative programming such as the Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir. Stella’s Circle’s services include emergency shelter, supportive housing and the operation of social enterprises such as a café and a commercial cleaning business.

Innovation (Researcher or Clinician): Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, President, CEO and co-founder of the Strongest Families Institute (SFI), Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University and Scientist with IWK Health Centre in Halifax, who has dedicated her career to improving the mental health and well-being of children, youth and families through innovation. In 2000, she co-developed a distance-coaching service system using proprietary e-health software. Recently, Dr. Lingley-Pottie launched a new program for adults with anxiety and depression, called ICAN.

Parliamentarian: Sean Fraser, MP, is a long-time supporter of community-driven initiatives that care for vulnerable people who are at increased risk and living with mental illness. He is a champion of mental health initiatives with a focus on the Operational Stress Injuries and PTSD of veterans and first responders. He has been a strong supporter of Bill C-211 to develop a national framework on mental health for veterans and first responders. Sean speaks annually at Helping the Helpers which seeks to dispel the myths around PTSD. Sean continues to work with his federal and provincial counterparts to secure an investment in a mental health clinic for veterans in Nova Scotia.

Workplace Mental Health: Cisco Canada has over 1,400 employees in 11 offices across the country and is a leader in IT. Cisco has made it a priority to create space for discussions around mental health in the workplace. Employees now have up to $25,000 or 150 visits per calendar year to access mental health services. Recently, Cisco announced its partnership with CAMH and Deloitte to help transform mental health care in Canada by solving fundamental challenges individuals may face with accessing doctors.

Congratulations to all of the winners.

CAMIMH is a non-profit organization comprised of health care providers as well as organizations which represent individuals with lived experience of mental illness. Established in 1998, CAMIMH is a volunteer run organization that provides mental health education to the public.

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, President, CEO and co-founder of the Strongest Families Institute