2022 – Benjamin Leikin, Ottawa Public Health

Benjamin is a leader in Canada’s mental health community. His championship of mental health is inspired by his own personal and family mental health challenges during his youth. Currently, Benjamin is the program manager of Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health, Addictions, and Substance Use unit.

Benjamin developed and implemented the first mental health strategy for the City of Ottawa. In 2015, Benjamin succeeded in getting the safeTALK workshop added to Ottawa’s Learning Centre program, thereby making suicide prevention training available to all 17,000 City of Ottawa employees and making the city stand out as a leader in workplace mental health.

Benjamin is a fierce advocate for suicide prevention. He developed and led the “Have that talk” anti-stigma and education campaign aimed at suicide prevention.

Benjamin was named one of the 150 leading Canadians for Mental Health by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He also has been the recipient of a Forty under 40 award by the Ottawa Board of Trade in 2021.

2021 – Elizabeth Manley, Olympic silver medalist

Elizabeth Manley is a former competitive figure skater and Olympic silver medallist. She has participated in two Olympic Games, six World Championships, and has won three National Titles. After spending many years in the US performing and coaching, Elizabeth now lives back in Canada, where she coaching and doing numerous speaking engagements. She is an advocate for mental health, a certified life coach, and a member of the Order of Canada.

Elizabeth’s interest in mental health advocacy comes from her own life experiences, and her strong belief in helping others. At speaking engagements, Elizabeth relives her incredible personal journey, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it takes to make it to the top, and speaks with honesty about the importance of mental health and surviving the loss of her parents. As a skater, an Olympian, and survivor, she hopes to inspire others with her mental health journey, and believes that it’s important to continue to support mental health care and research.

Elizabeth has received many awards for her mental health advocacy, most recently receiving the “Courage to Speak Award” from MeWeRTH at Psychology Mental Health Day.

“This is as great for me as winning an Olympic medal,” Manley told CTV News Ottawa. “Because this is my path now, and this is what I do for a living, and to be recognized for it – it just warms my heart, and makes me realize that I’m doing the right thing, and that this is my calling.”

As a MeWeRTH Champion, Elizabeth will engage with the Carleton Community and share her message of hope and resilience.

“There might be that one person that’s suffering in silence right now, that maybe I might be that one voice to just say, ‘OK – I’m safe, I can go for help; if Elizabeth Manley can do it, I can do it,’” she says

2020 – Cathrine Pettersen, Ph.D.

Cathrine’s Ph.D. dissertation focuses on justice-involved adult women. The overall goals of her current dissertation are a) to systematically review and meta-analyze the relationship between mental disorders and recidivism among adult women, and b) to use latent class analyses to derive classes of adult women, based on gender-neutral, gender-specific, and mental health variables. Ultimately, results of the studies may be used to inform case management, risk and needs assessments, security classifications, and treatment programs, all with the aim of increasing empirical knowledge of the underlying causes of crime and reducing recidivism.

Cathrine’s research interests also include scale validation and associated latent modeling techniques (e.g., CFA, EFA, and LCA) as well as meta-analysis.  She is most interested in special populations, including justice-involved adult women, psychopathic and non-psychopathic men who have sexually offended, and mentally disordered men and women in conflict with the law. In addition, Cathrine is often preoccupied with the welfare of incarcerated men and women in Canada and has focused on the use of administrative segregation (solitary confinement) with federally incarcerated adult women in Canada in a recent (not for publication) paper.

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon started his role as President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Bacon brings his passion for mental health advocacy to the Carleton community that extends beyond the university’s borders. Dr. Bacon became interested in how trauma – physical and emotional – impacts brain structure and function, and in how these negative effects can be mitigated and even reversed. “As someone with lived experience of childhood trauma, mental health struggles, and substance use, I speak publicly on these issues to break the stigma and promote the important idea that healing is always possible”.

His research is focused on perception in the visual and auditory systems, and on the integration and processing of sensory signals in the brain towards elaborating our perception of what we call reality.