Champions of Mental Health
Each year the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) recognizes 7 Canadians whose work has helped to advance the mental health agenda across the country. These remarkable people are recognized at our annual Champions of Mental Health Awards Gala.
This year, nominations will be accepted in the following categories:
- The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth – Any Canadian 21 and younger who has shown leadership in his or her community in promoting mental health and/or mental illness awareness, or any organization dedicated to providing services for youth
- Media – Any media personality or outlet who has contributed to public awareness of mental health or mental illness awareness
- Workplace Mental Health – Any employer or employee who has contributed to creating a mentally healthy workplace for staff
- Community Organization – Any organization that has provided great public service to community members experiencing mental illness
- Community Individual – Any person, who through personal commitment, has increased awareness about mental illness or reduced stigma in his or her community
- Parliamentarian – Any provincial, territorial, or federal Parliamentarian who has advanced the mental health agenda in Canada
- Innovation – Researcher or Clinician – An innovative person or organization that through their work has advanced the mental health agenda in Canada
The 2019 Champions of Mental Health Award Recipients
The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth
Brianne Moore, age twenty-one-year-old, has been living with mental illness for most of her life. She has faced challenges ranging from self-harm and suicide attempts, to living in a shelter — all while studying to graduate high school and to building a life for herself.
Brianne’s path to becoming a leading mental health advocate began in her early years of high school after she decided to start talking openly about how she was struggling to get through each and every day. She joined local discussion groups on mental illness and became a peer helper at her school, St. Francis Xavier. She became active in I Matter U Matter, which focuses on increasing mental health awareness and helping young people to develop coping strategies.
Brianne now speaks at high schools, to healthcare providers, advocates provincially and is a National Chair of Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication (CEADM).
Brianne is also the recipient of The Royal Ottawa Youth Inspiration Award, 2015.
Ace Burpee has worked in radio for over a decade and is well known for the hundreds of charitable events and causes that he donates his time to every year. Currently the host of his own show on 103.1 Virgin Radio, Ace has been a long-time advocate and strong supporter for those living with mental illness. Ace has volunteered extensively with organizations including the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. Ace also supports Project 11, a program to raise awareness about mental health issues for Manitoba students.
Albert McLeod is a Status Indian with ancestry from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Metis community of Norway House in northern Manitoba. He has over thirty years of experience as a human rights activist and is a survivor of mental illness and intergenerational trauma. Albert’s teen years were spent in northern Manitoba where he experienced homophobia and shunning after coming out as gay in high school. At the time, families and schools were ill-prepared to deal with sexual diversity and the emotional and mental impacts of isolation and depression.
Fortunately, at age twenty-four Albert met other Two-Spirit people in Vancouver who had similar experiences but had also created surrogate family structures to replace the ones that had been lost. Albert and his chosen family survived the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and supported each other emotionally through the darkest of times. In 1986, Albert stopped using alcohol and drugs and has been sober for the past thirty-three years.
Albert has been mentored by Ojibwe traditional elders and healers to learn about Indigenous approaches to emotional, mental, and psychological healing. Specializing in the intersections of mental wellness, HIV/AIDS, Indigenous peoples, cultural reclamation and cross-cultural training, Albert works collaboratively with other Two-Spirit leaders to advocate for recognition of Two-Spirit rights and their inclusion at all levels of society.
Albert is on the Board Directors of the Two-Spirited People of Manitoba.
Stella’s Circle in St. John’s, NL has 125 staff and 50 volunteers dedicated to providing services to 1000 participants annually. The organization works with people facing barriers from fully participating in the community. These barriers include mental illness, addictions, homelessness, poverty and long periods of employment. The mission of the organization is to transform lives by offering housing, counselling and employment services. Included in these wrap around services are an emergency shelter, supportive housing, various residential, institutional and community-based counselling services, and employment services.
Stella’s Circle also operates a number of social enterprises, including the Hungry Heart Café, Clean Start, a commercial cleaning business, and Home to Stay, a home modifications business. The Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir, consisting of participants, staff and volunteers, practices weekly and performance at many events throughout the city. CEO Lisa Browne has been recognized as one of the Top50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada by Atlantic Business Magazine.
Innovation - Researcher or Clinician
Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie is co-founder, President & CEO of the Strongest Families Institute (SFI) and the IRIS esystem, Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University, and Scientist at the IWK Health Centre (Nova Scotia, Canada). Coming from a rural Nova Scotia town, Dr. Pottie knows, only too well, the negative effects that mental illness and stigma around it can have on a person. Her life ambition and passion has been centered on helping others—children, youth, adults and families, across Canada and around the world. The last 20 years of her career has been dedicated to increasing awareness of mental health needs of Canadians and finding innovative ways to increase timely access. Her leadership at SFI is an example of a new system of care that provides services when and where people need help, through distance telephone coaching and leveraging the advantages of technology. Dr. Pottie has successfully scaled SFI services to many provinces to reduce waitlists. SFI was designed to be a cost-effective solution that removes barriers to care. With SFI’s distance coaching and flexible hours, there is no need to travel, no missed time from work or school, no cost incurred by the client and stigma is virtually eliminated.
Dr. Pottie’s expertise is focused on esystem development and organizational efficiencies; development and evaluation of eservices; ecoaching; system scalability; scale development; and clinical trial design. As a Scientist, she continually seeks research opportunities to develop new programs and utilize the IRIS platform to bridge the access gap. Dr. Pottie is a member of two National Mental Health Committees (Mental Health Commission of Canada- eMental Health Collaborative Committee; Vanier Institute of the Family – Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle). Dr. Pottie received the 2018 Atlantic Business Magazine Top 50 CEO Award and her work has been recognized by other national awards (2017 Governor General’s Innovation Award; 2013 Ernest C. Manning Award; 2012 Mental Health Commission Award).
Sean Fraser, MP (Central Nova, NS) Sean Fraser has been a champion for mental health since coming into office, with a particular focus on the Operational Stress Injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder of veterans and first responders. He is a strong supporter of community-driven initiatives to support vulnerable people who are at increased risk of developing mental illness, such as seniors, those with housing insecurity, or adults living with intellectual disabilities.
Sean has been a strong supporter of Bill C-211, which requires the government to develop a national framework on mental health for veterans and first responders and speaks annually at the Helping the Helpers event in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This event seeks to shed light on mental health concerns of our First Responders. Sean has been working with his federal and provincial counterparts to secure an investments in a mental health clinic for veterans in Nova Scotia.
Sean is a devoted father and husband and has the pleasure to serve as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Central Nova after being elected on October 19th, 2015. In September, 2018, Sean was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Workplace Mental Health
Cisco Canada has over 1,400 employees in 11 offices across the country and is a leader in IT. Cisco has made it a priority to create space for discussions around mental health in the workplace. Employees now have up to $25,000 or 150 visits per calendar year to access mental health services. Recently, Cisco announced its partnership with CAMH and Deloitte to help transform mental health care in Canada by solving fundamental challenges individuals may face with accessing doctors.
2020 Nominations Open
Some or all of the following award categories may be awarded in a given year:
- The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth
(Any Canadian 21 and younger who has shown leadership in his or her community in promoting mental health and or mental illness awareness, or any organizations dedicated to providing services for youth.)
(Any media personality or outlet who has contributed to public awareness of mental health or mental illness awareness.)
- Workplace Mental Health
(Any employer or employee who has contributed to creating a mentally healthy workplace for staff.)
- Community Organization
(Any organization that has provided great public service to community members experiencing mental illness.)
- Community Individual
(Any person, who through personal commitment has increased awareness about mental illness or reduced stigma in his or her community.)
(Any provincial, territorial or federal Parliamentarian who has advanced the mental health agenda in Canada.)
- Innovation – Researcher or Clinician
(An innovative person or organization that through their work has advanced the mental health agenda in Canada.)
How are the Champions selected? A selection committee of CAMIMH member organizations will review and select the award recipients according to the categories described above. Consideration will be given not just to the contributions of individuals and organizations within the designated categories but also to ensuring that as a group, the 2020 recipients represent a range of significant contributions to mental health from across Canada.
Nominees will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
i. commitment and/or longevity of commitment to mental health and illness
ii. significance of contribution
iii. uniqueness of contribution
iv. by word or example, brings mental health and illness to the attention of the public
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact CAMIMH at 613-233-8906 or at email@example.com.
- The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth
Tickets will be available soon