We’re just back from the sold out Breakfast of Champions event held at the London Convention Centre in partnership with St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. Sue Klebold was the powerful keynote speaker and she was followed by a panel of speakers discussing youth mental health. It was an impactful and hopeful event of which we were proud to be involved. Proceeds raised at the event are directed to St. Joseph’s Health Care London Foundation.
An important aspect of the event was the presentation of the 2017 CMHA Champion of Mental Health Awards.
Our Winners Were:
London Police Service (organization category)
Over the past five years, London Police Service has made mental health a focal point of their work; both in terms of the well-being of their members as well as evolving and enhancing the police and community response to mental health and addictions crisis in the community. They have established a ‘Road to Mental Readiness’ training, a Wellness Committee, a Peer Support Program with 30 trained members, a Critical Incident Stress Management Team as well as numerous in-services with training specific to personal mental health and reducing stigma. As a leader to our community, London Police Service has been a key partner with CMHA Middlesex, Addictions Services of Thames Valley, London Health Sciences Centre and the South West Local Health Integration Network. In this capacity, London Police Service has been instrumental in the establishment of the Mobile Crisis Response Team and the Mental Health & Addictions Centre; as well as protocols for the Emergency Department at LHSC and the implementation of mental health screening tools to assist officers in the field.
Todd Devlin and Riley Doan (individual category)
Three years ago, Todd created the London chapter of the “Defeat Depression Campaign,” which is overseen by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. He also founded London’s Walk & Talk for Mental Health, which aims to spread awareness of mental health issues, destigmatize mental illness, and raise funds for community organizations who support people with mental health issues. Riley Doan has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the London Defeat Depression campaign since its inception three years ago, and has assisted in all areas of event preparation. Just recently, the third annual “Defeat Depression Campaign” took place March 25 and raised over $34,000. These funds were directed to the “Mental Health Walk-in Clinic” at Family Service Thames Valley. Todd and Riley are credited with forming a great team that has made a significant community contribution by de-stigmatizing mental illness in addition to raising resources for local organizations.
While attending St. Jerome’s University’s Joint Honours Legal Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies program, Erin created “eatingdisorderconfession,” a pro-recovery blog dedicated to allowing followers a safe space to be honest about their struggles and recovery triumphs related to eating disorders. Within her university, Erin created a body-positive week, “SJYouAreBeautiful” meant to encourage self-love and body positivity among her university peers. Erin is also a board member of the Women’s Rural Resource Centre in Middlesex County, has acted as a Coordinator for the University of Waterloo Women’s Centre, and has provided consultation in the development of the university’s sexual assault policies. Using her own personal journey to motivate and empower others, she has contributed to staff-training mental health curriculum at Camp Kintail; and she volunteers with Big Brother’s Big Sister’s Go Girls Program. Through these initiatives, she creates positive and safe spaces for others to talk about their own mental health and body positivity. Erin is credited with continuously looking for opportunities to advocate for body love and positive self-esteem.
Dr. Julie Richard, M.D. FRCPC
Dr. Richard is a physician with the Prevention and Early Intervention for Psychoses (PEPP) program. In this role she provides treatment, support and advocacy for individuals living with a psychotic disorder. Dr. Richard is credited with successfully engaging individuals and for providing warmth and empathy. She has worked with many individuals, including those who have been homeless or incarcerated as a result of their mental illness, and has assisted many to access appropriate treatment and continue to lead meaningful lives. In addition, Dr. Richard also teaches medical students at the Schulich School of Medicine. She includes individuals with lived experience, and their families, in her lectures so that students may benefit from personal narratives as a part of their training. This last year, Dr. Richard was awarded the “University of Western Ontario Department of Psychiatry Clerkship Supervisor of the Year” award, based on feedback from Schulich students.
Dustin is an EMS responder who works within Middlesex county. Recently, Dustin shared his own personal story in partnership with the CMHA Middlesex and is credited by his peers as benefitting them by encouraging open-dialogue in regards to workplace stress and vicarious trauma. Dustin has also begun to provide assistance to his colleagues by openly educating about mental health. By working alongside counsellors from the Strathroy office of CMHA Middlesex, Dustin presents seminars about mental health that involve Fire Stations within Middlesex Centre. The goal of the seminars is to help EMS responders to identify the signs, feelings and symptoms that may be indicative of poor mental health; and to provide resources and direction as to how to seek help.
Nokee Kwe – Positive Voice Program, and Warrior Womyn Art Exhibition
Since 1978, Nokee Kwe has provided services with a focus on self-esteem, literacy, and obtaining fulfilling positions of employment to both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal populations within our community. The Positive Voice Program at Nokee Kwe is a pilot program aimed at supporting the development of positive personal narratives and positive community connections of Indigenous women. The program reduces social isolation and increases community connections to urban Aboriginal women to both their community and themselves. Using an innovative strategy of integrating multi-media expression, participants improve their own self-image and learn new skills. Program participants credit the “Positive Voice Program” with enabling them to find new ways to reflect and reframe their life experiences, become creators of champions and change, and develop positive mental health outcomes. They also express that the program, and its creator – Summer Thorp, have created a safe, dynamic and powerful healing experience; as well as a therapeutic connection to nature.