A Quarter of a Million Reasons to Change the Way People Think!

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia Funds Community & Inpatient Mental Health Initiatives

A quarter of a million reasons to change the way people think! The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is pleased to announce its 2019-2020 Grants have been awarded. A total of $250,000 has been granted through the Foundation’s first round of Community Grants and the NSHA Mental Health & Addictions Program Grants. 12 community organizations working to improve mental health literacy and support across the province have been granted a total of $120,000. A second round of Community Grants will be awarded later this summer. $130,000 in Mental Health & Addictions Program Grants have also been bestowed. 

The 12 community projects that have received 2019-2020 funding are:

  • 11th Annual Ray of Hope Retreat will provide a safe, nurturing environment for women in recovery to share their experiences, strength and hope with one another. 

  • Working Well with Mental Illness will offer accommodations to workers with mental illness in seven different Nova Scotia locations by way of a web-based Job Access Mobile application (JAM App) designed by Dalhousie University’s Inclusive by Design Research Lab. 

  • Rooting the Farm & Spreading the Model will allow the Common Roots Urban Farm – Dartmouth to offer new employability programming while continuing skills-training and educational workshops.

  • LakeCity Pre-Employment Peer Support Program will operate as a launch pad toward employment, learning opportunities, relationship-building and integration for adults living with mental illness. 

  • Kidz Connect by Family SOS will address mental health and online safety for HRM children and youth with the goal of proactively teaching awareness and prevention of mental health problems at a young age. 

  • Parent Resource Lending Library will develop a library of resources for parents in the Inverness Family of Schools aimed at helping them learn about mental health problems that are prevalent at various ages and stages. 

  • Life Skills Program by the John Howard Society of Nova Scotia will provide Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence and Healthy Relations Programming and foster a sense of community while teaching mental health skills and well-being. 

  • LOVE Leadership Training & Outreach will provide youth who‘ve experienced violence and mental health problems with the skills and knowledge to become leaders who educate others about youth culture, violence prevention and additional important issues.

  • The Art of Friendship by CMHA Nova Scotia will provide a community resiliency-based peer support pilot project in three Nova Scotia communities. The project will provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for youth and adults to reduce social isolation, build self-awareness, gain confidence and develop social and emotional skills.

  • TNT (Then, Now and Tomorrow) will bring together youth and seniors to plan and create an online presence comparing life ‘then’ to life ‘now’. The Chester Municipal Heritage Society project will engage youth through video to tackle the stereotypes often connected with aging and dementia. 

  • Expanding the ICAN Adult Anxiety Program to Nova Scotia will focus on Nova Scotians between the ages of 18-30 who are significantly impacted by anxiety and depression through an evidence-based telephone coaching service, created in Nova Scotia as a project of Strongest Families Institute. 

  • Audience Response System will display live results during CMHA Kings County weekly Resource Management Peer Support Group sessions. It will allow full participation at key points, especially by those new to the group or experiencing anxiety

“We are pleased to be able to support so many worthy and deserving projects happening across the province,” says Starr Cunningham, President & CEO. “Unfortunately, there are many more organizations that require funding. Our focus now has to be on figuring out a way to say ‘yes’ more often than we say ‘no’. We need the help of all Nova Scotians to change the way people think about mental illness and addiction.”

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia distributes funding to programs and services across the province on a biannual basis. The second call for 2019-2020 Community Grants applications will take place July 2019. To learn more or to make a donation visit mentalhealthns.ca.

 About the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of Nova Scotians living with mental illness and their loved ones.  We raise funds for vital programs and services that help make this possible, province-wide.



Media Contact:

Jill Chappell, Marketing & Communications Lead
Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

T: (902) 464-3210
E: jill.chappell@nshealth.ca

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 mentalhealthns.ca/a-different-stage-of-mind.

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 mentalhealthns.ca/a-different-stage-of-mind