On Jan. 28, Laurentian University and the Dr. Andreae Distinguished Presidential Lecture Series on Living in Healthy Communities welcomed Canadian singer-songwriter and mental health advocate Steven Page to the auditorium in the Fraser Building to discuss the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health.

Launched in 2012 thanks to the generous support of Dr. Dan Andreae, a friend to the University and a true champion of education, the Dr. Dan Andreae Lecture Series brings speakers from a variety of disciplines including social work, health, medicine, environmental science, and economics to promote knowledge and awareness of the different elements that comprise healthy communities.

In the past, the Series has featured speakers such as physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. James Orbinski, the former international president of Doctors Without Borders and co-founder of Dignitas International, and Canadian Olympic medalists Joannie Rochette and Alexandre Bilodeau.

Although he is most well-known for his success as the co-founder of the acclaimed musical group The Barenaked Ladies, Page, who continues to write and perform on a regular basis, has become renowned for his honest approach to creating an open dialogue about mental health.  He has travelled across Canada to share his own personal experiences of dealing with mental health issues and has helped stimulate a national conversation.

In front of a near-capacity crowd, Page took to the stage and performed several emotional songs, shared his story of struggling with depression and discussed the importance of ending the longstanding stigma surrounding mental illness.

Following his presentation, Page was awarded the Sudbury Medal for Leadership in Community Health by Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with the Sudbury & District Health Unit.

To close out the night’s festivities, the President of Laurentian University, Dominic Giroux, recognized the 2016 recipient of the Dr. Dan Andreae Living in Health Communities Scholarship, Caroline Dignard.

Dignard is pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Human Kinetics, and is working with a team of researchers and graduate students on the “Mining Mental Health” project.  This ground-breaking study involves a very large survey of people working in the mining industry. Dignard will be assessing the state of mental health in this workforce, and studying the factors that contribute to well-being in the workplace.