Teen fundraises over $100K for mental health

Former TSN broadcaster and mental health advocate Michael Landsberg was happy to be able to speak to a live audience for the first time since the pandemic began.

"Today I get to impact people’s lives."

Landsberg was in Essex, Ontario as the keynote speaker at an event called Minds Matter, organized by 19-year old MacKenzie Cassidy who said, "coming out of COVID now we’re experiencing people who left without resources. They’ve been isolated for a year and a half. It’s important that our community recognizes that and gives back."

The community stepped up as Cassidy was able to present the Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare Foundation a cheque for $112,000. Foundation president Bill Marra says that money is a game changer.

"We have to think long term. Long game and think about the focus involved in dealing with this."

About a hundred enjoyed Landsberg humour and insight into his struggles with depression and mental health.

"When they hear what if feels like to you and they say that’s exactly what I’m experiencing, they feel understood. There’s huge power in feeling like you’re understood," said Landsberg, who feels a lot of people who weren’t sick before the pandemic now join the millions that are more sick than before March 2020.

"I think it will take us a while to really figure out what’s the damage from this."

As a show of support Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions was on hand. Over two years ago the Ford government earmarked 3.8 million dollars for mental health and addictions treatment and feels the current investments are generational.

"They’re providing a foundation today to ensure that the mental health not just our children and youth but when they become adults is gonna be that much better," said Tibollo.

Marra hopes the investments continue, "any investment is a good investment."