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  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Bell Let's Talk Day

January 25, 2016 

Their Excellencies To Visit Mental Health Services
in Canada’s Capital Region on Bell Let’s Talk Day

OTTAWA—To mark Bell Let’s Talk Day, and to help end the stigma around mental illness, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston will visit Lanark County Mental Health, in Carleton Place, Ontario, and The First Peoples Innovation Centre, in Gatineau, Quebec, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Both organizations are supported by the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund.

“On Bell Let’s Talk Day, David and I encourage you to be part of the national effort to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. It is a matter of health like any other physical disease,” said Her Excellency. “We have a responsibility to educate ourselves, to pay attention and to listen. By reaching out to a family member, a friend or a colleague, we can all make a real difference in the lives of those who suffer in silence. Together, with acts of kindness, we can contribute to a more caring nation.” 

9:45 a.m.
Visit to the Lanark County Mental Health by Her Excellency
Mrs. Johnston will speak with employees and peer support leaders at the Lanark County Mental Health on the new peer support initiative. This initiative helps reduce isolation, focuses on recovery and considers the wellness of the whole person, rather than just illness and disability. It also provides a safe place where individuals can develop an increased sense of hope, self-awareness and insight, as well as empathy for others.

Lanark County Mental Health is a community-based mental health service responding to adults and transitional-aged youth (17 years old and over) from the region who experience mental health concerns. A multidisciplinary team that includes case managers, social workers, community mental health nurses, psychiatric consultants and social recreation workers provides a range of services including crisis response, assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, court diversion and community supports. For more information, visit
5 Bates Drive, Unit 14, Carleton Place, Ontario
Tamara Derkzen, Program Manager, Lanark County Mental Health, 613-257-5915, ext. 234,

1:30 p.m.
Discussion with Representatives from the First Peoples Innovation Centre
Upon their arrival, Their Excellencies will be greeted by Céline Auclair, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The First Peoples Innovation Centre, Daniel Richer, member of the Advisory Committee, and Elder Francine Payer. Their Excellencies will learn about the Centre’s different projects and upcoming initiatives, and discuss the topics of mental health and mental illness with representatives from the Centre and students involved in the Onaki project—a program focused on mental health and school dropouts. The importance of social entrepreneurship will also be addressed with employees from the Centre. 

The First Peoples Innovation Centre is a not-for-profit Aboriginal organization located in Gatineau. It assists with and promotes the development of social innovations designed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The Centre supports social entrepreneurs seeking new solutions to challenges faced by Aboriginal peoples and uses innovative approaches and tools to nurture the full potential of Aboriginal peoples and offer an alternative to distress. The Centre is particularly involved with Aboriginal youth, encouraging them to stay in school and championing social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit (en français seulement).
Maison Scott-Fairview, 100 Gamelin Street, Gatineau, Quebec
MEDIA CONTACT: Céline Auclair, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The First Peoples Innovation Centre, 819-685-2424, 819-210-6081 (cell.), 


Media information:

Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office


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