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."
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