Musician Steven Page to speak at A Mental Health Morning

The songwriter will discuss his struggles with depression and mental illness to help raise funds for mental health and addiction programs at St. Joe’s.

On Oct. 7, a virtual breakfast featuring a keynote address from Music Hall of Famer Steven Page will help to raise awareness and funds for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s world-class mental health and addiction program.

“I feel a kinship to the speakers,” says Angela Jaspan when reflecting on the Mental Health Morning keynotes she’s heard over the years. Jaspan lives with schizoaffective disorder and says, “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s really helpful for everyone to hear from someone of that fame and stature and to learn from their experience with mental illness. It helps to show that mental illness can affect anyone.”

Now in its eighth year, A Mental Health Morning will take place from 8 to 9 a.m. Donations will go toward providing continued, first-rate care in the Mental Health and Addiction program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, the regional lead in mental health and addiction care.

Before COVID-19, tickets to A Mental Health Morning event ticket were $50. But this year, individuals can attend the virtual event for free.

“We wanted to do something to show the community that we understand the physical, emotional, social and economic impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of all Canadians,” says Sera Filice-Armenio, President & CEO, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. “A Mental Health Morning is about creating an accessible event and a dedicated time when people can take a moment to care for their own mental health.”

Over the years, the Mental Health Morning event has raised nearly $300,000. This year, by inviting attendees to consider a donation to the Foundation in lieu of the cost of their event ticket, St. Joe’s hopes to raise $50,000. Funds go directly towards mental health and addiction patient care and programming at St. Joe’s.  

Individuals, community and corporate groups can register to attend and/or donate until the evening of Oct. 6 at

Corporations are invited to sponsor tables of eight for $750. Colleagues can still connect, in Zoom chat rooms, during the event. 

In his keynote, singer/songwriter Page, formerly of The Barenaked Ladies and now a solo musician and theatrical artist, will discuss his struggles with depression and mental illness with both candour and humour.

A passionate mental health advocate, Page will talk about how songwriting assisted him on his journey toward improved mental health. The multiple Juno award winner will also share his talent with songs and his acoustic guitar.  At the end of Page’s keynote, guests will have an opportunity to ask questions. 

Mental Health Morning guests will also be inspired when they learn the stories behind the Spirit of Hope Award nominees and recipients. Their impactful contributions in the field of mental health or addiction or the obstacles overcome by these youth, individuals, groups and organizations, will further help to destigmatize the public’s perception of mental illness.

The deadline for award nominations is Aug. 31. Click here, for more information.

“I’m still challenged by the illness at its core,” concedes Jaspan. She was honored with an Individual Spirit of Hope Award of her own last year for her work as a part-time peer support counselor at St. Joe’s, and for addressing the public to destigmatize mental illness.

“In a way, St. Joe’s created me,” she says. “Their services nudged me into this role.” She became involved with the hospital’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program and worked in the Colours Café at the West 5th Campus. “They believed me, gave me opportunities, helped me with life skills. It’s very typical of St. Joe’s. They want to see you succeed.”

Global News’ Radio’s Ted Michaels’ hosts this year’s event. The AM 900 CHML afternoon news anchor has also received recognition for his efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness. 

Mental health and addiction affect people of all ages, income levels and ethnicities. In Canada, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental illness or addiction. And that illness or addiction will significantly impact their family and the wider community.

All too often, people with mental illness and addiction issues experience stigma and barriers to social integration. But with the help of public awareness events like A Mental Health Morning, change is on the horizon.

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