A Mental Health Morning for the Health of the Community

HAMILTON, ON, May 4, 2016 /CNW/ - This morning, nearly 400 individuals and community and business leaders came together at the 4th annual Mental Health Morning, a breakfast event supporting the Mental Health and Addiction Program at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, to talk openly and learn about mental illness and addiction through the lives of those who are experiencing it first-hand.  The community broke the stigma around mental illness and celebrated those making significant contributions to the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction challenges.   

Michael Landsberg, former host of TSN's popular show Off The Record, got personal about his own struggle with depression.  Accustomed to interviewing on-air guests with a hard-hitting style, Mr. Landsberg candidly addressed the crowd about his eventual decision to speak publicly about depression, stigma and the impact of the illness on him and his family.  "Mental illness is just that – an illness – and all of us need to talk about it in order to break down the stigma associated with it so we can focus on getting the help we need and get better," said Michael Landsberg, Canadian broadcast personality.  "Events like this one are important, because they show those living with mental illness and addiction challenges that they aren't alone, their disease can be managed, and that there is hope."

St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation, which hosts the annual event, announced the winners of the Spirit of Hope Awards to recognize those who truly make a difference in the mental health and addiction community.  "There are few causes that resonate with almost every family, ever business leader and every sponsor we meet with, but mental health is one of them," said Sera Filice-Armenio, President and CEO, St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation.  "The Spirit of Hope Award winners, and the nominees, have made significant contributions and work tirelessly to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use. They are an inspiration to all of us."

The 2016 Spirit of Hope Award winners include:  Nick J. Petrella, a well-known advocate for young people struggling with mental illness; Nadia Mastroianni, a youth striving to create a safe and inclusive environment for other students; and, Mood Menders Support Services, a peer-led organization and one of Hamilton's primary support organizations for adults living with mood disorders.

Among the many organizations and businesses participating in A Mental Health Morning was four-time lead sponsor, ArcelorMittal Dofasco.  President and CEO, Sean Donnelly, announced a new three-year commitment to serve as presenting sponsor of the Mental Health Morning breakfast.  He also announced a partnership with St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation to develop an employer's toolkit focused on improving workplace knowledge about mental illness and addiction and promoting a culture of psychological safety for both employer and employee. 

"We support A Mental Health Morning because as a company we feel that we all have a responsibility to speak up about mental health," Mr. Donnelly said.  "We are in good company on that front with many other organizations taking lead roles in many different, and innovative, ways.  At Dofasco we've done a lot of work and made some key investments, but we know there is always more to do.  That's why we are extending our partnership with St. Joseph's Healthcare to help workplaces in our region increase their awareness of workplace mental health issues and support those dealing with mental illness through a new employer toolkit."

A Mental Health Morning raises funds to support the Mental Health and Addiction Program at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.  For more information visit: www.stjoesfoundation.ca/mentalhealthmorning or check out @STJOESHAMILTON for photos and comments from this morning's event.

SOURCE St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation

For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Laura Pagnotta, Director, Marketing & Communications, St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation, 905-379-3509, laura@stjoesfoundation.ca

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