Congratulations to the 2015 Champions of Mental Health

Ottawa, Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The 2015 Champions of Mental Health Awards were presented on May 5th in Ottawa during Mental Health Week. The Champions of Mental Health presented by Bell Let’s Talk celebrates individuals and organizations whose impressive contributions have advanced the mental health agenda in Canada.

With special guests in attendance including His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, Bell Let’s Talk Spokesperson and TSN host Michael Landsberg emceed the event and Great Big Sea’s Sean McCann provided entertainment to guests.

The winners of the 2015 Champions of Mental Health Awards are:

Community (Individual): Mr. Robb Nash is a musician who altered his own course to stardom following a serious accident. He now uses his talent and experience to speak with students in schools, youth detention facilities and First Nations communities across Canada, inspiring them to live lives of purpose. Using the power of music and story, Robb speaks to students about difficult topics such as bullying, addiction, hopelessness, self harm and suicide. He is an innovative leader in the field of youth mental health, and has brought a message of hope and purpose to almost 1 million young people across the country.

Community (Organization): DIFD is a youth initiative run out of The Royal, which aims to support programs and initiatives in youth mental health, and most specifically suicide prevention. The organization was founded by Luke and Stephanie Richardson following the tragic loss of their daughter, Daron, to suicide.

Media: Mr. Ted Michaels is a newscaster on AM 900 CHML radio in Hamilton, Ontario and is the voice helping to reduce the stigma around mental illness with his radio series, Wellness Wednesdays.

Research/Clinician: Carol Hopkins is the Executive Director of the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation. Carol has been committed to raising awareness of the foundational role of Indigenous culture in addressing substance use and mental health issues among First Nations in Canada.

Parliamentarian: Senator Denise Batters has been an active supporter of mental health and suicide prevention. In the past five years, she has organized several charity events in honour of her late husband, former Member of Parliament Dave Batters, who suffered from anxiety and depression and died by suicide in 2009.

Workplace Mental Health: Spectra Energy launched its “Open Minds” wellness program in 2014 for its 3700 employees in Canada. The program’s success centers around customized workplace mental health training, broad awareness campaigns and wide-ranging resources for employees, leaders and their families.

Youth: Mr. Patrick Hickey is a grade 12 student in St-John’s, Newfoundland and co-chair of “Mental Health Matters – a whisper to a scream,” a provincial mental wellness conference hosted by Holy Heart of Mary. Patrick also sits on the steering committee for the Community Coalition For Mental Health as the Youth Outreach coordinator.

In the lead up to this event, The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health officially launched the 13th annual Faces of Mental Illness campaign. The Faces of Mental Illness campaign is a key component of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) running from October 4-10, 2015. To nominate yourself or someone else for the campaign, please visit Nominations will be accepted until May 29th, 2015.