Breaking down mental health barriers with open dialogue

HAMILTON, ON – Yesterday, 600 individuals, business leaders and community partners gathered at A Mental Health Morning presented by ArcelorMittal Dofasco to talk openly about mental health and addiction. The breakfast event, which raises funds for the Mental Health & Addiction Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, takes place during Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is a national public education campaign to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.

In Canada, 1 in 4 individuals will experience a mental illness or addiction in their lifetime, with each and every person being touched by it in some way. As the regional lead in mental health care, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton believes it is important to eradicate the stigma around mental illness and embrace holistic care and enhanced research into causes and treatments for mental illness and addiction.

This year’s breakfast keynote speaker, Margaret Trudeau, has known her fair share of struggles. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret has tirelessly shared her personal story with others. At A Mental Health Morning, Margaret shared: “Depression is not sadness or sorrow, it is an illness. Depression is the thief. It takes you away from your family, away from the things you love.” So to maintain positive mental health, there are three things Margaret says she absolutely must do every day: get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. These are the constants that allow her to nurture her body, mind and spirit.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation also presented the winners of the 2018 Spirit of Hope Awards, which recognize those who are truly making a difference when it comes to mental health and addiction care and awareness. “St. Joe’s Foundation established this breakfast six years ago to create a forum where our community could learn about mental illness and addiction through the lives and stories of those who have experienced it first-hand,” explained Sera Filice-Armenio, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. “Today’s Spirit of Hope Award winners have truly made significant contributions to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness in our community by sharing their own stories and being a voice for others who have struggled to speak openly about their challenges.”

The 2018 Spirit of Hope Award winners include: Chelsea MacDonald, an individual who volunteers her time to bring mental health education to the forefront of the labour movement; Cierrah Warnick, a youth at Bishop Ryan Secondary School who is dedicated to ensuring the needs of students struggling with mental health issues are being addressed; and, Recovery Canada, an organization that has been providing weekly, peer-led meetings for people recovering from mental health and addiction challenges since the early 1960s.

For more information on how the funds raised by St. Joe’s Foundation are supporting patient care, research and education at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, visit


About St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and its Foundation:
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is an acute care, teaching and research hospital with three sites and is affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University and Mohawk College. The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton was established in 2014 and, recognized as a research hub, has been named one Canada’s Top 40 Research Hospitals for seven years in a row. For more information, visit: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation raises and stewards funds to support exemplary patient care, research, equipment and education at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and in the communities we are honoured to serve. Since 1970, the Foundation has reached out to the community for donations, big and small, to help our Hospital acquire new equipment, fund patient care programs, build new facilities, and conduct vital research programs. To learn more, visit:

Media Contacts:

Maria Hayes
Senior Communications Specialist
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
905-522-1155 ext. 33506

Ashley Lewis
Communications Officer
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation
905-522-1155 x 35949