Living With Mental Illness & Addiction Takes Courage
(TORONTO – April 25, 2006) – Seven extraordinary people who have overcome mental illness and/or addiction and now use their experience to help others will be honoured for their Courage to Come Back at a gala awards dinner hosted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation and presented by RBC Capital Markets. Singer/songwriter Amy Sky is among those being honoured.The Courage to Come Back Awards Dinner takes place Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at the Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre.
Here are the Courage to Come Back Award recipients:
- Doug Cridland of Fort Frances -- Before he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18, Doug's erratic behaviour was alarming to his family. Doug has managed to not only meet the challenges of living with his illness but to thrive.He is a devoted husband, a loving father and a dedicated community worker who continually inspires others with bipolar disorder to take control of their lives.
- Jay Fewkes of Baden -- His addiction to crystal meth and heroin was triggered by the tragic loss of his beloved sister and cousin when Jay was a teenager. Jay survived a near-fatal car accident at 23: given another chance at life, Jay overcame his substance abuse and now works as a carpenter. He uses his experience to speak to youth about the dangers of drug use and how they can avoid making the same mistakes.
- Robin Harvey of Toronto is an award winning journalist with The Toronto Star, and has been motivated, driven and hard-working throughout her life. She also lived with undiagnosed bipolar disorder for many years. She has learned to manage her illness, and helps others by speaking out about her challenges, volunteering with numerous organizations and writing about mental illness with powerful conviction.
- Hope McCron of MacTier is a mother of four who, when faced with the possibility of losing her family, overcame her addiction to alcohol. Her determination to stay sober and her courage to confront her grim past have served to make her a role model to others facing similar problems.
- Cheryl Peever of Toronto beat many years of cocaine addiction and decided that if she could do that, she could do anything. Cheryl achieved her masters in social work, and now works at CAMH as manager of the Acute Care and General Psychiatry Unit. Her previous experiences allow her to display uncommon empathy, devotion and compassion to the clients she serves and others who seek her help.
- Singer/songwriter Amy Sky is a three-time Juno Award nominee, a winner of three SOCAN awards and has written songs for artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Reba McEntire and Diana Ross. Since experiencing and overcoming a harrowing case of postpartum depression, she uses her unique voice to generate awareness about the illness and stresses the importance of getting help.
- Jessica Weihrich of Smith Falls struggled with unmanageable addictions to morphine, heroin and crack before she turned 16. At her lowest point, she weighed 80 pounds, her teeth were rotting and her body was a canvas of black and blue. Jessica decided to fight back and has emerged stronger then ever. She now works with many organizations to speak to youth about her past in the hope that it will deter those who may be thinking about trying drugs.
The Courage to Come Back Awards is an annual public awareness and fundraising campaign first launched in 1993. The awards recognize the achievements of people across Ontario who have shown courage and determination in the face of mental illness and addiction. The recipients have achieved personal victories, and now serve as models of hope and inspiration for others facing similar circumstances.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is a specialized teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is the largest mental health and addiction facility in Canada. CAMH is also a Pan American Health Organization and a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
The award recipients are available for interview during the week leading up to the Courage to Come Back Awards. To arrange an interview, or to attend the Courage to Come Back Awards and Dinner, please contact Jean Geary, 416 535-8501, ext. 4395 or Ola Juchniewicz, 416 535-8501, ext. 6013.