7 Canadian Business Figures Who Are Strong Mental Health Advocates
Mental illness has different kinds of disorders that tamper with a person’s mood, way of thinking, and behaviour. These disorders can show themselves in the form of substance abuse, depression, or even gambling disorders.
According to Statistics Canada, 1 out of 5 Canadians experiences mental illness during their lifetime. It either affects them directly or indirectly. The ministry of health in Canada contributes approximately $10 million to fund organizations that promote mental health.
Canadian Business Figures Advocating for Mental Health
Many public figures and business people of Canada have volunteered to advocate for mental health. Here is a list of some of the Canadian mental health advocates.
1. Eugene Melnyk
Eugene is the owner, governor, and chairman of the Ottawa Senators of NHL. Besides being the team’s chairman, he works with qualified health officials to ensure that his athletes’ and staff’s health and safety are prioritized.
Eugene is also a great advocate of mental health, evident on his Twitter account @MelnykEugene. He contributes a lot to the conversations on #BelleLetsTalk, a program that aims to break the silence on mental illness.
At the beginning of 2020, he congratulated Belle Let’s Talk on their Twitter account for their record day and tweeted. He acknowledged that every day is the right day to talk about mental health awareness.
2. Cam Adair
Cam sought help after struggling with depression that led to an addiction to video games. Through this, he created a space to help people like him. Cam dropped out of school in grade 8 after being bullied at school and on his hockey team.
After his classmates joined post-secondary schools, he preferred to play video games, and he would do so for over 16 hours. He realized that he needed to seek professional help when he got to writing a suicidal note.
He got a good response after sharing his story online. Cam is the founder of Game Quitters, the most extensive support community for video game addiction globally. Game Quitters has members from over 50 countries of the world.
He uses this platform to support others with game addictions, and through it, he collaborates on video game addiction research. He also uses the platform to offer peer support. He is also a social media entrepreneur.
3. Chad Guenter
This Canadian advocate for mental health is the founder of two non-profit organizations, Keep Calm Paddle On and Project All In. Chad loves water, a born passion after he learned how to white water raft in a university course.
Chad left his career in ironwork, which was not in line with his passion, to gain his certificate in guiding. He lacked a financial reward, which led him to be declared bankrupt, which was the beginning of the depression.
He suffered depression after the hard times he went through and the pressure of balancing a lot of stress. His friends suggested that he should try stand-up boarding, and he bought one.
He then founded Keep Calm and Paddle On in 2012. He raised money and created awareness for mental health by paddling for over 300km while also promoting water’s healing power.
Chad has a lot of passion for working at the helm, which has seen the annual event grow each year. He paddles for people who have a mental illness, including himself, family members, and the groups that join him to stand up for mental health.
4. Mona Cooley
The founder and CEO of Cool Family Solutions became a mental health advocate after her daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After the diagnosis, Mona searched for supports and resources for families whose members suffered from bi-polar disorder, only to be surprised that there were none.
Together with her family, she researched what worked for a family member suffering from mental health challenges through trial and error. That encouraged her to come up with Cool Family Solutions.
She partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association in 1997 to come up with a six-week family psycho-education and provide a family peer support program. The organization also supports the entire family of the affected member.
Mona has tirelessly advocated for mental health and helped families come together after being diagnosed with mental illness.
5. Ginny Dennehy
Her son Kelty died in 2001 by suicide, and Ginny used her grief to save the lives of people suffering from mental health. Together with her husband, they founded The Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, which aims to raise awareness about depression.
The foundation also raises funds for research, care, and education for people battling with mental health. The foundation has raised over $7 million so far. Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre has been established at BC Children’s hospital and extended mental health services at Lions Gate Hospital with other resources.
The organization also funds online services to help youths living with depression. The online platform I called Kelty’s Key. In 2013, Ginny and her husband cycled across Canada advocating for more resources for mental illness in over 65 communities, and by the end of it, they had raised more than $1.7 million.
Ginny works with other British Columbia mental health workers to help the youth experience better mental health and save lives.
6. Lorne R. Segal
Lorne Segal is a Canadian businessman and philanthropist whose strong leadership has seen a mental health transformation in Vancouver. He has been the chair of Coast Mental Health Foundation’s Courage To Come Back Awards for over 12 years, a position he has held with a commitment to mental health.
This president of Kingwood properties Ltd. was recognized as one of the leading 150 Canadians for mental health. Over the years, Mr. Seagul has been a leader and has made the community understand the role the Coast Mental Health plays in transforming citizens’ lives struggling with mental health.
He describes the role of the Coast Mental Health as bridging the gap between diagnosis and recovery. He extends his generosity to over 4,000 people living with mental illness through support services like housing and employment. He has also contributed over $15 million to facilitate these support services.
7. George Cope
George is the CEO and president of Bell Canada. Bell Let’s Talk is a program that aims to break the silence around mental illness. The program supports mental health throughout the country.
George launched Bell Let’s Talk to show other corporates how they can lead in addressing social issues. His program helps Canadians know how to open up about mental illnesses, and it also aims to fund mental health workers at research institutions and Canadian health centers.
He uses social media platforms like Twitter to donate funds to mental health initiatives across the country. With its hashtag on Twitter #BellLetsTalk, he has generated over $86.5 million, all of which go to mental health programs in the country. Bell Let’s talk has become a well-developed movement benefiting many citizens.
Mental health is as crucial as general health that everyone should take seriously. Many Canadian organizations also advocate for mental health, including the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).