Saluting Mental Health Heroes with Community Service Awards

VICTORIA – On Wednesday, May 9, during Mental Health Awareness Week, Island Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use Advisory Committee presented two prestigious awards to valuable members of our community who have made kindness and compassion a part of their daily work by supporting people with mental health and substance issues.

“It takes a community to come together to support people and families living with mental health and addictions challenges” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “It’s heroes like the ones who are being  recognized today that make our communities such a vibrant, compassionate and welcoming place to call home.” 

Jim Hayden, Managing Partner, Noodle Box 

Jim Hayden, supports local non-profit mental health organizations through contributions and fundraising events, such as their annual $5 Noodle Box Days which support the Canadian Mental Health Association. Jim’s passion to support people living with mental health issues has been far reaching and continues to make a difference in the lives of many individuals in our community.

“As someone who has been personally impacted by a loved one’s struggle, I’m proud to be an advocate for people living with mental health and substance use issues,” notes Hayden. 

Detective Sergeant Paul Spencelayh and Detective Constable Brian Asmussen, Victoria Police Department

On April 10, 2017, Detective Sergeant Paul Spencelayh and Detective Constable Brian Asmussen were tasked with delivering difficult news to the next of kin about the passing of a family member by suicide. No one can ever be prepared for such devastating news, but these two detectives delivered this news with compassion, empathy and heart. Touched by the sensitive way in which this news was delivered, a family friend wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper commending the Vic PD officers for their kindness.

This marks the third annual award presentation for the committee, which believes in the importance of highlighting community members who make a daily effort of displaying kindness and caring as an extension of their work life. 

“Our community is filled with so many incredible people, like our recipients, doing incredible things. I am thrilled that our advisory committee highlights these individuals for their kindness, compassion and advocacy for the members of our community who struggle with mental health and substance use issues," said Sharlene Law, Executive Director for Umbrella Society. 

Each year the committee purchases artwork from a local artist with lived experience to present to the recipients.

“We are so pleased to recognize our community partners at Noodle Box and the Victoria Police Department,” said Lauren Fox, Island Health representative on the MHSU Advisory Committee. “When we embrace inclusion and seek to understand others without judgment, we strengthen the bonds of humanity and allow everyone to grow together.”

Media inquiries:
Meribeth Burton, Island Health Communications  

Sharlene Law, Umbrella Society Executive Director