Annual Gala Honoured Mental Health Advocates with Hero, Hope and Heart Inspiration Awards

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Tuesday January 31, 2012

Michael Landsberg of TSN leads list of honourees to be recognized for efforts to improve the lives of people living with mental illness

Toronto, Ontario: The Mood Disorder Association of Ontario is pleased to honour three outstanding members of the community for their efforts to improve the lives of those living with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder at the 8th Annual MAD About You Awards Gala. TSN Broadcaster Michael Landsberg will be honoured with the Hero Inspiration Award at the event taking place at The Carlu on Saturday, February 11, 2012. Also being honoured are Dr. Donna Stewart with the Hope Inspiration Award, and Michael Cole with the Heart Inspiration Award.

 “Michael has done so much to foster awareness and compassionate understanding of depression as a real, treatable, medical illness, not as a character flaw or weakness,” said Ann Marie Mac Donald, President and Chair, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. “We are humbled and so proud to honour Michael with our Hero Inspiration Award, and we look forward to celebrating with him and his family at our gala event.”

“I have an illness. I didn't choose it –it chose me,” said Michael. “Having a mental illness doesn't make me weak and talking about it doesn't make me strong. I am blessed to have platforms to share and if sharing can make others feel less isolated then shame on me if I don't use those platforms to reach as many people as possible.”

Hope Inspiration Award recipient, Dr. Donna Stewart, is being recognized for her research, policy development, education and clinical service in women’s mental health nationally and internationally. Dr. Stewart is the Director of Women's Health, Senior Scientist at the University Health Network and a University Professor at University of Toronto. Her research in the mental health field has looked at depression across the life cycle, psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as the psychological aspects of physical illness. She is a consultant to the World Health Organization, Past President of the International Association for Women's Mental Health and Past Chair of the Section of Women's Mental Health of the World Psychiatric Association.

“I am thrilled to be this year’s recipient of the Hope Award,” said Dr. Stewart. “There are many good reasons for people with mood disorders and their families and friends to feel hopeful today. Our universal healthcare system, skilled mental health care providers, community agencies like the Mood Disorders Association and new treatments that are being researched right here in Toronto, promise a better future through effective treatment. I am honoured to play a small role in this circle of care.”

Receiving the Heart Inspiration Award is Michael Cole, the recently retired program director of Laughing Like Crazy, a stand up comedy program for people living with a mood disorder. Over many years of leading the program, Michael has shown members how to tackle personal and professional challenges and to find the humour in successes and setbacks. Through this ground-breaking program, Michael has provided hope, confidence and humour to people living with a mental illness. His commitment to providing members of the program with the skills and strength they need to work through their own illnesses has made him a consistent and positive voice of hope and support.

All recipients will be celebrated at the Mood Disorders Association’s Mad About You Awards Gala, on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at The Carlu at 444 Yonge Street (at College).

About the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario ( Our understanding of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder is shaped by our lived experiences. The Mood Disorders Association serves individuals and families across Ontario by providing: awareness, education and training; family and youth clinical support; recovery programs; and, peer support.


For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, (416) 486-8046 ext. 232; (647) 771-5815 (cell)