On October 5, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student Bridget Flatt was recognized by St. Joseph Healthcare for her leadership in promoting mental health strategies and awareness at her former Catholic elementary school, St. Joseph.
The Spirit of Hope Award was presented to Flatt at the St. Joseph Healthcare's Mental Health Morning and recognized individuals and groups in Hamilton who advocate for mental health.
"Bridget has the courage to be the beacon of hope for so many others through her reaching out one-on-one as well as with her work through her school's Health Action Team in identifying, providing tools and strategy and showing it is okay to talk mental health," said St. Joseph Principal Diane Ing.
In accepting her award, Flatt thanked key individuals in her school community and family for giving her the courage to speak up for mental health and be a voice for others.
The morning also heard from mental health advocates and speakers like Lena DeMarco from Bell Canada's "Let's Talk" campaign, who shared statistics that outline how adolescents are the highest risk for mental well-being challenges.
Keynote speaker Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret'd), shared his personal story and struggle with mental health, and provided pillars of mental well-being which include building a support network between peers.
According to St. Joseph Healthcare, "one in four Canadians will experience a mental illness or addiction in their lifetime, and each and everyone one of us will be touched by it in some way."
Individuals like Bridget help open the conversation on mental health which, in turn, works to end the stigma surrounding it.
Congratulations, Bridget, on your award, and thank you for advocating for mental health.