The Bal des lumières: Over $1.1 million raised for mental health

Québec's largest ever fundraising initiative in support of mental health

MONTREAL, March 21, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Yesterday evening, the Bal des lumières event in support of mental health was held at the Bell Centre. With more than 800 guests, including Premier Pauline Marois, the evening helped raise more than $1.1 million for three Québec mental health organizations: the Mental Illness Foundation, the Fondation de l'Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine - Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation.

The primary objective of the event was to raise money to help the three foundations pursue their mission of supporting mental health, but it was also a chance to educate guests about the issues surrounding the cause. According to Lynne McVey, Executive Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and Denise Fortin, Executive Director of the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal: "The proceeds will go toward providing high-quality treatment and services, and financing research and teaching so we may better understand, prevent and treat mental health problems. The money invested will also permit us to carry on with our anti-stigma efforts." Note that in Québec, one in five individuals will experience mental illness in their lifetime.

The Bal des lumières was presided over by George Cope of Bell, Serge Godin of CGI, Geoff Molson of the Club de hockey Canadien, Bell Centre and evenko, and Louis Vachon of the National Bank of Canada. The respective chairs of the three foundations, Don Bastien, François Castonguay and Marie Giguère, wish to commend the evening's honorary co-chairs for their leadership and tireless efforts: "We owe the evening's tremendous success to our honorary co-chairs, who managed to rally together prestigious guests for one of the few events dedicated to mental health. They pulled off an amazing feat with this remarkable benefit gala. Never before has such a large amount of money been raised at an event supporting mental health organizations in Québec."

"Bal des lumières was not only an opportunity to raise unprecedented new funding for these three outstanding Bell Let's Talk partners in Québec, it was also an expression of support for progress in mental health by the most prominent people in Québec. Lending your names to the cause is an important step in ending the stigma around mental illness," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE. "On behalf of my three Bal des lumières co-chairs, I thank Québec's public, corporate and cultural leaders for joining the conversation to end the stigma, and for your generous support of new mental health care, research and awareness programs in Québec."

Co-hosted by Normand Brathwaite and Anne-Marie Withenshaw, it was an evening full of excitement and flavour, and guests were delighted by the gourmet dinner as well as the many unique and breathtaking performances. The performers—Marc Hervieux, Julie Massicotte, Élizabeth Blouin Brathwaite, Kim Richardson, Sylvie Desgroseilliers, Stéphanie Bédard, DJ Abeille Gélinas, and the Brathwaite and Friends band—were more than happy to help make the Bal des lumières a truly unforgettable occasion.

The debut of this initiative is an extraordinary source of encouragement and motivation for all those who work relentlessly to improve the day-to-day lives of individuals with mental health issues and their loved ones. The three foundations, and all of the healthcare workers and researchers they represent, would like to offer their sincere thanks to Messrs. Cope, Godin, Molson and Vachon, for helping bring mental health out of the shadows and into the light.

Presidents of Honour:
George Cope is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bell and BCE Inc.
Serge Godin is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of CGI
Geoff Molson is the Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Club de hockey Canadien, Bell Centre & evenko
Louis Vachon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank of Canada

SOURCE: MENTAL ILLNESS FOUNDATION

For further information:

Marisol Houle
Mental Illness Foundation
514 529-5354, ext. 226
mhoule@mentalillnessfoundation.org