Our Champions (2016)

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health Proudly Announces its 2016 Champions of Mental Health

This year’s winners in each of the seven categories are:

Community (Individual):

Mr. Curtis Bishop spent several years of his life on the streets of Toronto living with mental illness. Curtis benefited from the support of a housing agency, Houselink Community Homes, where he found empowerment and took up the unofficial role of advocate for those who still struggle. Curtis has provided an empathic understanding of his community and his workplace, allowing him to speak frankly on behalf of his peers. He works to reduce stigma as a marker for adverse experiences – simply addressing the smallest of biases or prejudices we encounter. It is here where Curtis excels discussing our notions and beliefs, creating an opportunity for learning and enlightenment.

Community (Organization):

The Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent (CEMV) is a non-profit organization that provides services to sexually abused children, aged 12 and younger, as well as their families by bringing together medical, police, psychosocial, social and legal services under one roof. The CEMV aims to optimize interventions with these children by minimizing the stress caused by these different procedures and facilitating coordination between the various groups of professionals.

Media:

Erin Anderssen is a Senior Feature Writer at The Globe and Mail and has drawn astounding attention to the lack of accessible mental health care in Canada. As lead author of The Globe’s Open Mind series on improving mental health research, diagnosis, and treatment, she exposed the urgency of improving Canada’s mental health care system in a very public way.

Research/Clinician:

Dr. Heather Stuart is a Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, with cross appointments to the Department of Psychiatry and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queens University. Dr. Stuart works to describe and understand the experience of stigma from the inside – from the perspective of people who have a mental illness and their families. In February 2012, Dr. Stuart became the first Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair.

Parliamentarian:

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North (Ontario) and Minister of Status of Women, served as Executive Director of the largest homeless shelter in Thunder Bay prior to entering politics. In her work, she focused on the social determinants of health and called on the federal government to better address issues around social housing, mental health, substance abuse and harm reduction. Minister Hajdu is also a former member of the Board of Directors for Alpha Court Mental Health Services.

Workplace Mental Health:

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) is a teaching hospital specializing in providing a range of services for those struggling with complex or severe mental illness in a recovery oriented environment. The organization is passionate about supporting the mental and physical well-being of the employees who carry out this important work every day. In 2013, the organization was an early adopter of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to engage in a Case Study Research Project to document promising practices, challenges and resources required for implementation, with the aim of building a better business case other employers.

Youth:

This year the Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award will be given to Bishop Ryan’s Celtic Circle Student Leadership Club is a group of students from grades 9 to 12 dedicated to bringing awareness to mental illness. They break stigma by empowering others to build an inclusive community. Through their own lived experience and passion to help others, they have earned prestigious recognitions and awards at the local, provincial, and national levels.