Reducing mental health stigma is Landsberg's calling: TSN host Michael Landsberg shares his personal story of living with depression

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May. 07, 2012

On the television screen TSN’s Off the Record host Michael Landsberg’s confidence is palpable, so confident, so charismatic, a person may never guess that he has a mental illness.

Diagnosed with depression more than 14 years ago, Landsberg considers his ability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness his most important professional calling. He will share his powerful story to 1,000 people at Breakfast of Champions on May 8, at the London Convention Centre. Hosted by St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association London & Middlesex, Breakfast of Champions annually showcases champions of mental health in order to reduce social stigma which still surrounds the illness.

Michael LandsbergThe number 1,000 seems to repeat itself in Landsberg’s life. Shortly after posting his personal reflections on living with depression on TSN’s website, he received 1,000 emails, “The reaction was life changing”, says the sports journalist. The responses were thoughtful and personal and overwhelming and Landsberg discovered his calling - to use his celebrity platform to dispel the stigma that surrounds mental health. “I have the power to share and it’s the most natural thing in the world for me to share what I know about depression.”

“Breakfast of Champions is an important forum for the community to come together and bring mental illness out of the shadows,” says Michelle Campbell, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. “Being open about mental illness is important and can help others to reach out, and for all of us to have greater understanding of the illness. If our keynote speaker can tell their story in front of hundreds of people, others might join in and reach out to tell one person – a friend, a family member, a care provider…all it takes is that open dialogue to begin the healing.”

The event will also feature the presentation of the Champion of Mental Health Award, which will honour a person and an organization for excellence in mental health care and delivery.

“We have an opportunity with this event to identify, honour and celebrate excellence within our community,” says Michael Petrenko, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, London-Middlesex. “Some of the best in the country are here in our midst, including our own local Champion of Mental Health.”

Where: London Convention Centre
When: May 8, 2012 from 7:30 to 9:30

Media seats are available at the event. Please check in at the registration desk on the first floor of the Convention Centre. Media interviews will take place at the conclusion of the presentation.

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For more information, please contact:
Johanna Mesjarik, Communications Assistant
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation
Phone: 519 646-6085 ext. 65449

Aleena Needham, Executive Coordinator
Canadian Mental Health Association, London-Middlesex
Phone: 519 434-9191 ext. 228

St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation

St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation gathers, grows and grants philanthropic funds that 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 inititives and capital funds for hospital building projects at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas and Lawson Health Research Institute. One of the largest charitable organizations in Southwestern Ontario, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation is accredited to adhere to Imagine Canada’s Ethical Fundraising & Financial Accountability Code.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) London-Middlesex
CMHA London-Middlesex has been operating in London since 1950. This organization is a non-profit, charitable organization with a community focus. Its mission is achieved through public education, social action and advocacy, research and policy development; as well as direct service programs. Wherever possible, activities are administered in partnership and coalition with other organizations and individuals.

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