Author Mark Lukach inspires guests with poignant keynote address at Breakfast of Champions
London, Ontario – Mark Lukach spoke openly about his family’s heart-wrenching mental health journey on the stage at Breakfast of Champions this morning. His presentation touched on themes from his 2017 bestselling book My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, which chronicles his wife Giulia’s battle with bipolar disorder and how he supported her through three hospitalizations with psychosis and her suicidal depression.
“Mark Lukach’s story highlighted the challenges family members face in caring for the people they love who live with mental illness,” says Michelle Campbell, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. “At St. Joseph’s we’re already ahead of the curve in this respect by leading a provincial initiative to improve family caregivers’ experience and engagement.”
Proceeds from the breakfast will support the Zero Suicide initiative, a quality improvement model that will reduce suicides and attempted suicides. During the event, Michelle Campbell announced that TD Bank Group had committed $225,000 towards Zero Suicide. Cumulatively, the organization has given more than $1 million to St. Joseph’s over three decades – a testament to TD’s investment in better health for our community.
Dr. Beth Mitchell, CEO, CMHA Middlesex, also announced the winners of the Champion of Mental Health Awards on stage. Sgt. Andrew Gough of the London Police Service was recognized for his efforts in destigmatizing common mental health myths through his “Stronger Than you Know” campaign. CMHA Middlesex also recognized Sue McLeish, Brenda Wentzell and Family Support Group at London Health Sciences Centre for their mental health advocacy and for providing resources that support family caregivers.
“We want to recognize the incredible work that local mental health champions do every day,” says Dr. Beth Mitchell, CEO, CMHA Middlesex. “They are resilient individuals and
organizations who make significant contributions to providing support to people with mental illness, advocating for mental wellness and reducing the stigma that is still prevalent in our community. On behalf CMHA Middlesex, thank you to all the strong voices that contribute to breaking down the barriers related to mental health.”
For more information
Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex
The Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex provides community-based mental health services, housing supports, outreach and education through many locations across London, Middlesex, Strathroy, Exeter and Goderich. We promote mental wellness through responsive and innovative services and empower individuals on their recovery journey. The vision of CMHA Middlesex is an inclusive community with mental health and wellbeing for all.
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation gathers, grows and grants philanthropic funds to enable St. Joseph’s Health Care London to pursue excellence in care, teaching and research. Through donor support, the foundation contributes to advances in the delivery of patient care, specialized equipment, research initiatives and capital funds at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care and Lawson Health Research Institute.
As one of the largest charitable organizations in Southwestern Ontario, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation is an accredited member of Imagine Canada’s Standards Program, which recognizes the foundation’s commitment to ethical fundraising and donor accountability.