CAMIMH Hosts Annual Champions of Mental Health Awards Gala

OTTAWA, May 2, 2016 – Tomorrow, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) will host the fourteenth annual Champions of Mental Health Awards Gala in Ottawa. Each year, CAMIMH selects a group of “Champions” through a national nomination from the public to identify and recognize Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to mental health in Canada.

“We are delighted that Her Excellency Sharon Johnston and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health will be joining us for the Champions of Mental Health Awards Gala,” said CAMIMH Campaign Chair, Fred Phelps. “We are very proud to recognize this year’s Champions; Curtis Bishop, Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent, Erin Anderssen,  Dr. Heather Stuart, The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, and Bishop Ryan’s Celtic Circle Student Leadership Club, and to celebrate their achievements in making a difference for those who struggle with mental illness.”

The Champions of Mental Health Awards are a key component of CAMIMH’s annual awareness campaigns and are made possible through the generous support of its presenting sponsor Bell, as part of the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative.

“Congratulations to each of this year’s Champions for their outstanding commitment to helping Canadians living with mental illness, and the very real difference they are making in our society,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Bell Let’s Talk is proud to support CAMIMH and the Champions of Mental Health Awards, as they recognize the importance of individuals and groups such as this year’s recipients to increasing both awareness about mental illness and access to care.”

CAMIMH is also pleased to welcome some other of its special guests: the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Here are our 2016 Champions of Mental Health award winners and a little bit of their background:

Community (Individual): 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.
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.
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.
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.

The Champions of Mental Health Awards are made possible through the generous support of our sponsors: Bell Let’s Talk, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Innovative Medicines Canada, and Impact Public Affairs. To learn more about CAMIMH’s campaign and the winners, please visit:


Established in 1998, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is an alliance of mental health organizations comprised of health care providers and organizations representing persons with mental illness and their families and caregivers. CAMIMH’s mandate is to ensure that mental health is placed on the national agenda so that persons with a lived experience of mental illness and their families receive appropriate access to care and support. 

To learn more about CAMIMH’s campaigns, please visit or contact:

Charlotte Webber
work: 613-233-8906
cell: 613-316-1104

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