The Canadian Mental Health Association is proud to partner with the Invictus Games to host an evening reception to celebrate the beauty of recovery.
MC: Michael Landsberg, Co-host of ‘Naylor & Landsberg in the Morning’, Founder of #SickNotWeak
Keynote: Michael Burns, CEO, Invictus Games 2017
Opening performance by Sharon Matthews, Performer and Actress – Mean Girls, Cinderella Man and Hairspray
Headliner Sean McCann, member of internationally renowned band, Great Big Sea. Today his mantra is ‘help your self’, breaking the silence on his past addiciton, abuse, and using music to change lives for the better.
About the Invictus Games
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries. How do they find the motivation to move on and to not be defined by their injuries? How can they be recognized for their achievements?
Prince Harry asked these questions. Following a visit in 2013 to the US-based Warrior Games for wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans, he was inspired to create an expanded international version. The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in the fall of 2014 and attracted more than 400 competitors from 13 nations. The second Invictus Games took place in May 2016 in Orlando, Florida, and built on the excitement of the London Games with more than 500 competitors from 14 nations. The Invictus Games demonstrate soldiers’ and veterans’ indefatigable drive to overcome and the power of sport on their journey to recovery.
Invictus Games competitors are the men and women who have come face-to-face with the reality of making a sacrifice for their country. They are the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives who have put their lives on the line and have suffered life-changing injuries. These people are the embodiment of everything the Invictus Games stands for. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven they cannot be defeated. They have the willpower to persevere and conquer new heights. The Games shine a spotlight on the sacrifices these men and women made serving their country, and their indefatigable drive to overcome.
The Invictus Games is about much more than just sport – it captures hearts, challenges minds and changes lives.
My name is #SickNotWeak. I am a not-for-profit corporation started by Michael Landsberg. I was born on December 14th, 2009 during a speech given by Michael. In a debate about what mental illness is – and is not – Michael shouted, “Obviously I am sick, but I sure as hell am not weak. I am sick, not weak”. It stuck.
I am unconventional. I am not limited, like other initiatives by corporate correctness or medical agendas. I believe that the traditional way- whispered, clinical, formal, and sanitized adds to the shame and reinforces the belief that people are weak, not sick.
If you are here for me, then I am here for you. I don’t abide by the normal rules – I say what I want, when I want to. My candor is my power. I answer to no one but those who need me. I can say without fear – screw the stigma!
About Guitars for Vets
A grassroots movement, VETS Canada began in 2010/2011 when Jim Lowther, a veteran himself, realized that there were veterans slipping through the cracks. They had not made successful transitions from their military careers to healthy, productive civilian lives. These veterans had lost their families, were living in the streets or at-risk of being homeless and were, at times, suicidal. They were unemployed and many were trying to cope with mental and physical injuries related to their service without adequate health care and other community support. Jim formed a small team in Halifax, NS to seek out and help homeless and at-risk veterans with a view to helping reintegrate them into civilian life.
This movement has grown into a federally registered non-profit charity that has a network of 135,000 and hundreds of dedicated volunteers across the country, most of who are ex-military/RCMP. They work within the community to identify homeless veterans and quickly re-establish the bond of trust that exists between soldiers.
Working within the community, VETS Canada members attempt to move veterans from the streets or shelters into affordable housing (if available). They also connect the veterans with needed health care, help them access benefits and services from other organizations, and support them in finding suitable employment. The volunteers stick with these veterans every step of the way and do everything possible to help them re-establish themselves. To do this, VETS Canada has a national Board of Directors composed of volunteers and has outreach across the country.
In 2014, VETS Canada was awarded a contract by Veterans Affairs Canada whereby they are now approved Veterans Affairs Service Providers in the field of homeless and in-crisis veteran outreach.
VETS Canada has evolved from just assisting homeless veterans to also providing support to those who are not necessarily homeless but who are “in crisis”. Whether that crisis is not being able to afford groceries or a hydro bill, or it’s an emotional/mental health crisis, VETS Canada is available to provide support.