Mental Illness Awareness Week is celebrated the first week of October and for the last 13 years, Campbell River has come together to honour individuals recovering from mental illness or substance use challenges.
The HOPE (Health, Optimism, Pride, Empowerment) Awards celebrate recovery, promote awareness, and reduce stigma around mental health and substance use.
The first HOPE Awards celebration was held in 2008 after Island Health – CR Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) provided one-time funding to organize a community forum in partnership with the MHSU Advisory Committee, the Campbell River Beacon Club and Mental Health Recovery Partners North Island (MHRPNI). The idea was to create an event during Mental Illness Awareness Week that focused on celebrating hope and positive messages around recovery.
Over the last 12 years, 88 HOPE awards have been presented. Recipients were recognized for their commitment to recovery, and how their individual recovery journeys are an inspiration to others. As well, in the past five years, various community members have been nominated for the Dr. Phil Minnaar Award for their efforts to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and improve local services.
This year, HOPE Awards were presented to seven Individuals in recognition of their inspiring recovery journeys. The sixth annual Dr. Phil Minnaar HOPE Award for Building a Positive Community was awarded to MHRPNI volunteer Sheila Chaisson.
The HOPE Awards are also a celebration of community and teamwork. It really is a group effort with various organizations and people contributing. Representatives from the Beacon Club, MHRPNI, MHSU and the Advisory Committee fund and plan the celebration.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the HOPE Awards committee will not have a public celebration this year. But they still want to pay tribute to and congratulate the remarkable individuals in their recovery and wish them continued success in the future.