The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health celebrates the 2019 Champions of Mental Health at a national gala in Ottawa

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health celebrates the 2019 Champions of Mental Health at a national gala in Ottawa


The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health
celebrates the 2019 Champions of Mental Health at a national gala in Ottawa

OTTAWA, May 7, 2019 – Today, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) celebrates the recipients of the Champions of Mental Health Awards for 2019. This evening, a gala will be held in their honour to recognize their incredible contributions to mental health across the country.

“The dedication to mental health displayed by the winners this year is outstanding,” said Florence Budden, CAMIMH Co-Chair. “All of the winners are inspiring change-makers in their communities.”

The gala takes place at the National Arts Centre with special guests, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Traci Melchor, a previous Champion of Mental Health Award recipient, mental health advocate, and CTV’s Etalk Senior Correspondent is the event emcee.

The Awards include a keynote address by Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and remarks by Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk.

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 presenting sponsor Bell Let’s Talk.

“We are honoured to have so many special guests pay tribute to the winners this year,” said Chris Summerville, CAMIMH Co-Chair. “The gala brings together members of the public and private sectors, as well as community mental health advocates, to celebrate and recognize the importance of mental health services in Canada. We are all proud to recognize the champions, and to celebrate the ongoing work to improve services and supports for Canadians experiencing mental illness.”

This year, CAMIMH is pleased to honour the following recipients:

The Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth: Brianne Moore is a long time mental health advocate. In high school, 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).

Media: 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.

Community (Individual): Albert McLeod is a Board Director with Two-Spirited People of Manitoba. A survivor of mental illness and trauma, Albert has been mentored by traditional elders and healers to learn about Indigenous approaches to emotional, mental, and psychological healing. Specializing in HIV/AIDS and 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.

Community (Organization): Stella’s Circle is a non-profit organization in St. John’s that helps transform lives by working with people facing barriers from fully participating in the community, the majority of whom have a mental illness or addiction. Stella’s Circle offers programs in three areas: housing, counselling, employment, and builds community through innovative programming such as the Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir. Stella’s Circle’s services include emergency shelter, supportive housing and the operation of social enterprises such as a café and a commercial cleaning business.

Innovation – Researcher or Clinician: Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, President, CEO and co-founder of the Strongest Families Institute (SFI), Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University and Scientist with IWK Health Centre, has dedicated her career to improving the mental health and well-being of children, youth and families through innovation. In 2000, she co-developed a distance-coaching service system using proprietary e-health software. Recently, Dr. Lingley-Pottie launched a new program for adults with anxiety and depression, called ICAN.

Parliamentarian: Sean Fraser, MP is a long-time supporter of community-driven initiatives that care for vulnerable people who are at increased risk and living with mental illness. He is a champion of mental health initiatives with a focus on the Operational Stress Injuries and PTSD of veterans and first responders. He has been a strong supporter of Bill C-211 to develop a national framework on mental health for veterans and first responders. Sean speaks annually at Helping the Helpers which seeks to dispel the myths around PTSD. Sean continues to work with his federal and provincial counterparts to secure an investment in a mental health clinic for veterans in Nova Scotia.

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.

CAMIMH would like to thank its generous partners who make this campaign possible: Bell Let’s Talk, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Innovative Medicines Canada, and Impact Public Affairs.


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:

Kalene DeBaeremaeker

Cell: 613-857-1758 | Email:

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