2018 CHAMPION OF MENTAL HEALTH NOMINEES
Congratulations to all nominees in both the organization category and the individual category!
The award recipients will be announced at the 2018 Breakfast of Champions on Tuesday, May 8th at the London Convention Centre. You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets from the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation website.
Dr. Dave Robinson
Dr. Dave Robinson has dedicated 25 years to the field of psychiatry both providing treatment to people with mental illness, and advancing knowledge in the area of mental illness. His many contributions include practicing psychiatry at St. Joseph’s Health Care and London Health Science Centre in London, authoring 16 textbooks, teaching, and volunteering his services.
In 2012, after the retirement of the existing psychiatrist, Dr. Robinson began running clinics at CMHA Middlesex. He now runs regular clinics to provide ongoing care for a large number of clients. Dr. Robinson assesses the vast majority of people referred for a psychiatric evaluation by the Crisis Services and has worked with the Crisis Services team developing forms and processes that have made it a viable alternative to seeking psychiatric care in emergency departments. He is active in the community, dedicating clinical time to St. Leonard’s Community Services in London and Crest Services in Lucan, providing formal and informal education for the St. Leonard’s staff and filling in for Dr. Ken Lee at the Suboxone Clinic.
In addition to his clinical and volunteer work, Dr. Robinson contributes to the field of writing. In 2013 and 2018, he volunteered as the lead author for the Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines for Mental Health and Diabetes.
Dr. Robinson involves his clients in the process of determining the most appropriate treatment plan, seeks input and agreement and has the approach of someone who will keep searching for the best solution in the present and future.
Kristin Legault-Donkers, a psychology student at King’s University College, is an advocate, blogger and writer who has had her own struggles with mental health. In 2015, Kristin began writing letters to the editor about the shortcomings of mental health care in London. Her advocacy, along with others, has continued in the media and through ongoing communication with community groups, government officials and online forums. To help reduce stigma, Kristin has told her story to numerous media outlets, including The London Free Press and CTV News.
In 2016, she wrote and published the Children’s Mental Health Series of four books, one each on: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD. Since launching her books, she has had very positive feedback from teachers and parents.
In addition to her books and advocacy, Kristin writes a blog, My Authentical Self, offering help and encouragement. She has also teamed up with a London teacher and created a comprehensive educational package, participated in a London Health Sciences Centre video for their staff which highlighted best practices when dealing with individuals with mental illness, conducted a free mental-health break at the St. Thomas Public Library, and spoke to sociology students at Western University.
Eight years ago, Eenie Jewel was on Dundas Street supporting a family member and was moved by the need of the patrons who were visiting the London Coffee House, which at the time was located on the corner of Dundas and William Streets. At London Coffee House, many of the individuals served are experiencing homelessness, extreme poverty and isolation, and are at risk. After this initial visit, Eenie left feeling very determined to do something meaningful that would make an impactful difference, and she decided she would start visiting the London Coffee House every Sunday with trays of sandwiches to feed the members. Since then, she has continued to provide this regular support, and has even substantially increased her contribution every Sunday.
To ensure this consistency, Eenie collects donations from her church to purchase the ingredients and makes them by herself every Saturday, which are then delivered on Sundays. She has significantly impacted the lives of those individuals who count on her sandwiches every week, and Eenie is described as a very giving and generous woman.
While the weekly gift of the sandwiches are appreciated, what most members at the London Coffee House comment on is that she serves as a reminder to many that they are not facing their challenges alone. In addition to actively volunteering at her church, Eenie also teaches indigenous language on the Oneida Reserve.
Active Minds Western
Active Minds Western is a student-run mental health club at Western University. Their work is categorized into five distinct areas: advocacy, education, growth, connection and awareness. Collectively, the group has achieved their mission by providing opportunities for mental health education to all students across Western University, which has been shown through several initiatives that have taken place over the past year with a focus on connecting a diverse cross-section of students. Examples of this include the Cultural Consciousness event, which provided a platform for discussion on the intersectionality of mental health.
Working closely with the University Students’ Council, the group promoted mental health awareness and advocacy by ensuring that the question, “Would you like to see student mental health and wellness included as a high priority of Western’s strategic plan?” was included on the student election ballot – to which a reported 89.3% of voters indicated “yes” to this question. Through ongoing consultation, connection and dialogue across the student population, Active Minds Western has published a paper, “We Demand More: A Pathway to Mental Health Reform at Western University,” that will serve as the groups’ foundation for future ongoing efforts.
Through this work, the group has collaborated with other student clubs to provide several recommendations to administrators at Western to implement effective mental health strategies and to support mental health and well-being for all students.
Lubrico Warranty is a London, Ontario based company that specializes in providing used car warranties. They had started the industry in 1977 and have served over one-million drivers since. Today, Lubrico warranties are available at over 4,000 dealerships across Canada and honoured at over 3,000 authorized repair facilities.
Employees at Lubrico Warranty have credited the company for not only driving awareness and education on mental health as part of their workplace culture, but also for their commitment to action plans and initiatives to support workplace mental health. In addition to the investment that the company has made in mental health training and awareness, other examples of their efforts include the development of a Mental Health Committee, as well as weekly Mindful Mondays.
The intention of this is to provide a channel of support to colleagues to openly talk about lifestyle and mental health challenges. As evidenced through their low staff turn-over rate, the company’s willingness to erase mental health stigma serves as a motivator for staff to do their best, support fellow co-workers, and to feel comfortable and accepted when the need arises to take time out for themselves. Employees at Lubrico express that open-dialogue about mental health are at the forefront of Lubrico’s core values.
Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity (FIJI)
Since 2010, the brothers of the FIJI fraternity have been hosting the ABC Campout for Mental Health event. Following the suicide loss of one of FIJI’s founding fathers, Austen Berlet, the year before; the brothers have since been organizing the campout to promote mental health awareness and advocacy among their student peers and to raise funds to support mental health initiatives.
The campout is traditionally held in the early spring and has been held at Victoria Park in London, and was held at the UCC building on Western’s campus this year. Each year the FIJI brothers have enthusiastically taken on the task of planning, promoting and successfully facilitating the event that takes place over a 24-hour cycle; many of the brothers who have worked so tirelessly over the years have not even had the chance to meet Austen.
Resulting from the ongoing efforts of the FIJI fraternity and the funds that have been raised, a partnership has been established with CMHA Middlesex so that increased mental health supports and counseling can be provided directly on the Western campus during the high-stress exam periods. This partnership has served to bridge the gap that had existed previously for Western students to access mental health support from the broader London community.
In addition, an endowment fund has been created with the London Community Foundation to provide further support to this program, which has now also been expanded to include students of Fanshawe College.
Positive Voice is a program at Nokee Kwe in London, Ontario that supports Indigenous women in the development of personal narratives and positive identity. The program advocates for issues related to mental health, including reducing the social isolation of urban Indigenous women, providing peer support for the effects of colonialism and intergenerational trauma, and increasing community understanding of systemic barriers.
Participants are empowered to establish meaningful connections with one another, offering a safe space to openly discuss their experiences which include the effects of residential schools, violence, homelessness and poverty. Through these connections the women mentor each other and provide coping strategies. The program also seeks to transform negative narratives surrounding their identity with the opportunity to reframe these portrayals. The creation of art that is shared at community exhibits, the use of social media and public speaking opportunities are some examples of how this is achieved.
In addition to receiving assistance and support to access needed services, participants are also encouraged to develop their own skills to advocate for the issues they are passionate about, which in turn helps to build confidence and self-esteem.
About the Awards
The Champion of Mental Health Awards are presented by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex Branch and honour both an individual and an organization in the communities of London and Middlesex who have made a significant contribution in the following areas:
- Reducing stigma experienced by people with mental illness
- Providing support or treatment to people with mental illnesses, their families and/or caregivers
- Advocacy for issues related to mental health (including individual needs, family needs, service delivery and systemic issues)
- Advancing knowledge in the area of mental illness/health research