Local mental health advocates recognized

Carol Goddard, Special to Seaway News
Local mental health advocates recognized
Melanie Brulée with her award.

CORNWALL, Ontario – During the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East Branch  AGM, held virtually on June 21,2021, Melanie Brulée received the 2021 Earl Eaton Distinction Award, with Stephen Douris and Ivan Labelle receiving the Annual Mental Health Service Award.

Angele D’Alessio, Mental Health Promoter with CMHA Champlain East, nominated these two gentlemen for the award in recognition of “their outstanding commitment and significant contribution to the mental health movement in our community and across the province”.

Stephen Douris and Ivan Labelle with their awards.

Recently, Labelle spoke to the Seaway News about the award and the support group he and Douris founded.  He explained Mentalk /K’hommeunique, established in 2019, is a support group for men which provides “a safe and confidential space for men to speak about life’s challenges”.  During the COVID-19 pandemic the group continued to meet virtually on Wednesday evening but now are able to meet outside at Gray’s Creek.  Labelle mentioned attendance at the meetings average approximately 10 people, with close to 50 registered in the program.

Both men expressed they felt honoured to be nominated for the award and when asked about receiving it, Ivan commented it was “very touching to receive the award”. Stephen mentioned he was “thrilled and overwhelmed by the recognition of the community and our members” upon receiving the award before thanking CSCE and the Cornwall Salvation Army for their support of Mentalk /K’hommeunique. More information on this program is available on its Facebook page or by contacting Stephen Labelle at 613-937-3132 extension 232.

Melanie Brulée, singer-songwriter and graduate of St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall, was awarded the 2021 Earl Eaton Distinction Award for her “outstanding dedication in the field of mental health”, with her nomination submitted by D’Alessio.  Brulée organized the United Youth Mental Health Concert which she describes as “the culmination of a month of weekly workshops” she had facilitated with “16 talented youth in the Cornwall, SD&G, and Prescott/Russell area”.

During the workshop participants were able to write on subjects such as “vulnerability, self-esteem and self confidence” followed by the recording of a performance from home which resulted in a “bilingual concert to showcase their talent to the community”.  Feed back from participants described “a life-changing experience” and Brulée looks forward to running the program in 2022.   Brulée suggests students in Grade 7-12 who “are interested in the possibility of participating next year” should send an email to mentalhealthconcert@gmail.com.

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