Yesterday morning, the annual Breakfast of Champions event was held, virtually this year. The event is always powerful and inspiring, and today was no different.
An important component of Breakfast of Champions is the Champion of Mental Health Awards, an award program started in 2007 by CMHA and St. Joseph’s. The Awards recognize both an individual and an organization in our community who have made a significant contribution to mental wellness.
This year, we were honoured to award Tyler Stewart in the individual category and the Middlesex OPP in the organization category. Both Tyler and the OPP contributed to strengthening the mental health of those in their community over the past year in remarkable ways. Through his love of helping people and music, Tyler is a thoughtful, dedicated advocate for mental health whose musical talents help deliver his messages of hope and support across London. The Middlesex OPP, Led by constables Melanie Corby and Erin Mosher, launched the Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT), one of the first programs of its kind through a partnership with the OPP, the Strathroy Caradoc Police and CMHA Elgin-Middlesex. MCRRT helps prevent hospitalizations by proactively following up with high-risk individuals and their families and connects those experiencing a mental health crisis with special trained agencies in the community. Today, we celebrate Tyler, Erin and Melanie, the MCRRT and all the nominees of this year’s Champion of Mental Health Awards!
Following an insightful presentation from Mental Health Incubator for Disruptive Solutions (MINDS) of London-Middlesex, a team of mental health care providers, youth researchers and community partners working to overcome barriers in youth mental health, we were joined by the feature speaker of this year’s event, David Sheff from California.
David shared the moving story of his son’s journey with addiction and undiagnosed mental illness. Many families in our community can relate to his experience, which shines a spotlight on the often close relationship between mental illness and struggles with addiction and its devastating impact. David’s story was powerful and profound, and touched on the lessons he learned about how many people are impacted by an individual’s mental health or addictions disorder – not only the person struggling but those around them who care about them.
By telling his family’s story, David affirmed many families’ experiences as well as offered comfort by showing they are not alone. By talking openly and sharing experiences, together we can learn more about mental health and help break down the stigmas that continue to surround it.
Thank you to St. Joseph’s and everyone who joined or supported this year’s Breakfast of Champions event. We look forward to next year!