Sue Klebold talked about her life after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and how it’s led her to become a passionate mental health advocate at this year’s Breakfast of Champions event.
More than 1,200 local community leaders and mental health advocates attended the event, which took place on April 26 at London Convention Centre.
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex, hosted the breakfast.
“Some of the most spectacular work around mental health comes from those with an idea and a passion for making the community better, safer and healthier for all of us,” said Dr. Steven Harrison, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex. “CMHA Middlesex is proud to participate in the Breakfast of Champions where we recognize the region’s true champions of mental health — this year a recent university graduate, a paramedic, two volunteers, a police service, a physician and an expressive arts program — who are all creating change in significant and meaningful ways.”
In a one-on-one conversation with CBC News Host Heather Hiscox, Klebold shared her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the knowledge of her son’s role in Columbine, and the realization of his struggle with mental illness.
She also shared invaluable insights from her experience in an effort to help other families recognize when a child is in distress.
Afterwards Klebold joined local experts and mental health advocates for a panel discussion on youth mental health, which included Lori Hassall, Dr. Elizabeth A. Osuch, Dr. Javeed Sukhera, Scarlet Davidson and Jesse House.
“This breakfast has become an important event for mental health care, advancing the public dialogue as a way to demystify how we think and talk about mental illness,” said Michelle Campbell, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. “It also enables us to invest in transformative mental health care that would otherwise not be possible”
The 11th annual Breakfast of Champions also recognized several individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to mental wellness in the community through the Champion of Mental Health Awards.
Todd Devlin and Riley Doan received the individual award for their efforts in bringing the Defeat Depression Campaign to London.
London Police Service received the organization award for the work they are doing to support the well being of their members and to enhance police and community response to mental health and addictions crisis in the community.
The full list of nominees for the CMHA Champion of Mental Health Awards includes:
- Todd Devlin and Riley Doan
- Erin Huston
- Dr. Julie Richard
- Dustin Sutherland
- Nokee Kwe – Positive Voice Program, and Warrior Womyn Art Exhibition
- London Police Service