Hundreds of Voices Unite for Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

There are hundreds of thousands of reasons to celebrate following the 16th annual BMO Bank of Montreal A Different Stage of Mind. The event featured four star performances by community leaders and volunteers in a energetic show of support to Nova Scotians living with mental illness and addiction. Hosted by Mayor Mike Savage, the Variety Show drew a crowd of nearly 500 guests to the Halifax Convention Centre.

Official fundraisers committed to raising $50,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia through ticket sales and sponsorships, as well as live donations during and following the show. At the time of this release, revenue for the event was $200,000.

The final tally showed $75,200 raised by Sonny & Cher (Cyril Lunney and Catherine Campbell) with an added boost from team member Phyllis Diller (Diane Campbell) which secured their award for Top Fundraiser. Next in line were Lady Gaga (Maggie MacGillivray) and Bradley Cooper (Jon Cyr) who raised $67,500. Songstress Sarah Ellen Morrison pulled in $55,800, and The Lunch Bunch community choir sang strictly for the fun of it!

Sonny and Cher kicked off the night with a stage show that got everyone grooving including a surprise cameo by Phyllis Diller. Following the opening act, was the sultry sound of Sarah Ellen Morrison, a promising local musician. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper wowed the audience with their moving performance taking home the coveted People's Choice Award. And the Lunch Bunch rounded out the evening with their radiant positivity. As the night drew to a close, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia President & CEO Starr Cunningham encouraged guests to get loud about mental illness and addiction.

“There is a real charge in the air here tonight – an energy of change and care,” said Cunningham. “Let’s be sure to hold onto it and use it to inspire more voices to join us in changing the way people think!”

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia would like to thank all of this year’s sponsors and supporters. Our heartfelt gratitude to presenting sponsor BMO Bank of Montreal; Event Partner, ZedEvents; Media Partner, CTV News Atlantic; Branding Partner, Revolve; Video Partner, RPM Productions; A/V Partner, FMAV; Decor Partner, Glow The Event Store; Printing Partner, Atlantic Digital Reproductions, Mayor Mike Savage, Adam Conter, the team at the Halifax Convention Centre, Garry Williams, Stoo Metz, Elle Munster Makeup Artistry, Hair Design Centre, and our dedicated volunteers.

Those unable to attend can still take part by making a donation at

Powerful Women Create Powerful Brands


The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is celebrating International Women’s Day with recognition for its outstanding work. Canadian marketing publication, Strategy, has listed The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia as one of Canada’s Top 100 brands in their 2019 Creative Report Card. The Foundation is ranked at 92 alongside Loblaw and Nissan. The annual report ranks brands, agencies, advertisers and creatives to showcase the country’s best in marketing. The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s creative partners, Arrivals and Departures has also been recognized as one of the Top 30 Agencies, ranked at 27.

“The timing of this honour couldn’t be more appropriate”, says President and CEO Starr Cunningham. “Our small team of six women is passionate about making a mark and changing the way people think. As our brand continues to grow, so too does our commitment to the more than one in five Nova Scotians who live with mental illness and addictions.”

The Mental Health Foundation is extremely proud of the work it does to improve the lives of Nova Scotians living with mental illness and their loved ones. This recognition coinciding with International Women’s Day is indicative that the charity’s all-women team is making great strides in raising funds and awareness for mental illness and addiction.

A Different Stage of Mind Connection Shows How Mental Illness Reverberates


Mental illness affects us all. It's something that's become even more apparent during the planning for BMO Bank of Montreal’s A Different Stage of Mind (DSOM) in support of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. Three of the Foundation’s DSOM volunteers unknowingly got involved with this year’s event due to a connection with the same person.

In early January, a Foundation staff member received a call from longtime volunteer, Maureen Cyr. Maureen wanted to ensure her involvement with the upcoming event following the sudden death of her grandson Connor Moore. He had lost his battle with mental illness only a few weeks earlier.

In mid-January, DSOM Star Maggie MacGillivray informed the Foundation she was partnering with local musician Jon Cyr for her upcoming performance. Jon was quick to join in her fundraising initiative and felt as though the opportunity was meant to be. Jon had tragically lost his nephew Connor only a few weeks prior.

"On Christmas morning I learned my nephew had taken his own life," says Jon. "It made me realize there’s something wrong with a world where people continue to live with so much darkness that goes undetected until it’s too late. Together we can help others find the courage to talk about their struggles and seek the help they need."

Later that same week, the Foundation received a biography from DSOM Star Sarah Ellen Morrison which stated she was "dedicating her performance to her friend, Connor Moore, who tragically took his own life this past Christmas." Connor was the very first friend Sarah made when she moved from Cape Breton to Halifax.

This connection illustrates how one person’s struggle with mental health can reverberate throughout the community and emphasizes the critical need for mental health resources. A Different Stage of Mind raises funds and awareness for mental health programs and services across the province in an effort to improve the lives of Nova Scotians living with mental illness and their loved ones.

Presented by BMO Bank of Montreal, A Different Stage of Mind is a variety show where Nova Scotia community leaders hit the stage in a talent showdown in support of mental health. The performances take place Friday, March 15th at the Halifax Convention Centre. Six community volunteers will be working to put mental health centre stage.

"Every year is different for A Different Stage of Mind," says Starr Cunningham, President and CEO of the Mental Health Foundation. "This year we will have something for everyone including a 2019 Oscar-winning song, the comedic hijinks of a messy-haried comic, one the most entertaining couples, We’re also pleased to put the spotlight on an up-and-coming singer who has a true passion for raising her voice and funds for mental health and introduce our audience to a choir that sings simply because it makes them smile."

Connor Ian Moore   August 8, 1995 - December 25, 2018

Connor Ian Moore

August 8, 1995 - December 25, 2018

This year’s show features performances by including Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga (Jon Cyr & Maggie MacGillivray, Sonny & Cher (Cyril Lunney & Catherine Campbell), Phyllis Diller (Diane Campbell), the joyous melodies of The Lunch Bunch choir, and the vocal prowess of Sarah Ellen Morrison. We are also thrilled to have Mayor Mike Savage return to emcee the festivities and Halifamous live auctioneer, Adam Conter.     

All stars have committed to raising $50,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia in the weeks leading up to the event through ticket sales, fundraising initiatives and corporate sponsorship. Stars will also be competing for the People’s Choice and Top Fundraiser awards.

To support a star and purchase tickets or tables, visit