News - September 23 2019

The Bal des lumières raises $1,8 million for three foundations dedicated to mental health

The third edition of the Bal des lumières – United for Mental Health took place on September 18th at the Bell Centre. Under the theme of "human nature," the event raised $1,825,000 Net to benefit the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation, the Fondation de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and the Fondation Jeunes en Tête.

Over 700 guests attended the evening, including Québec Premier François Legault, Minister of Health and Social Services Danielle McCann and Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante. The event set a new fundraising record for mental health, exceeding the $1,430,000 raised during the second edition of the Bal des lumières in 2016.

This unprecedented response will have a wide-ranging impact, since these three organizations cover a range of mental health interventions, from raising awareness and prevention to promoting innovative treatments, quality care, cutting-edge research and social integration. The three foundations will use the funds to advance their causes and dispel prejudice surrounding mental illnesses.

In the middle of the evening, a wave of generosity swept the Bell Centre after actor Jean-Nicolas Verreault and his young daughter Mia talked about her struggles with anxiety. Their story touched the hearts of the audience, who together donated $160,000 to help people affected by mental illness.

The Board Chairs of all three organizations, Éric Bujold, Martin Gagnon and Marisa Giannetti, would like to thank the five Honorary Co-Chairs for their outstanding leadership and commitment to mental health. They would also like to thank the evenko team and artistic director Joël Legendre for making this magical evening a reality.

The evening was co-chaired by George Cope from Bell Canada, Robert Dumas from Sun Life Quebec, Serge Godin from CGI, Geoff Molson from the CH Group and Louis Vachon from National Bank, and hosted by Maripier Morin. It was filled with memorable moments, including a touching piece by pianist Alexandra Streliski, accompanied by a team of talented dancers, as well as a stirring performance by musician Christian Marc Gendron.

"Bal des Lumières is a remarkable event that reflects Québec's clear leadership in moving mental health forward," said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell. "The Bal is a truly unique and inspiring partnership between three leading Québec mental health foundations, five major Québec business institutions and everyone who joined us last night to make the event such a great success. Together, we're bringing mental illness into the light and showing the world how to make a real difference."

Serge Godin, Founder and Chairman of the Board of CGI also sang the praises of this unique mental health initiative: "The Bal des lumières helps fund the vital work of hospitals and foundations in supporting and treating patients, preventing mental illness and fighting stigma. On behalf of our clients and partners, we're thrilled to have this opportunity to help support these mental health initiatives."

Robert Dumas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Quebec was pleased to have the opportunity to serve as Honorary Co-Chair for the first time. He underscored the importance of contributing to change: "I was very happy to see how many people were in attendance. We need to use our roles in the business community to make a difference. We can't leave everything up to the government and individuals. It's essential to take action in the workplace as well. Businesses have a key role to play in promoting mental health in our community."

President and Chief Executive Officer of the CH Group Geoff Molson expressed his pride in hosting the event at the Bell Centre: "We can't forget why the Bal des lumières exists; to join forces to fight against the stigma related to mental illnesses. Too often, people suffer alone and in silence. I'm overjoyed to host this event at the Bell Centre – the ultimate destination for memorable moments. I'm confident we'll all cherish our memories of this third edition of the Bal des lumières for a long time to come."

Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank, highlighted the importance of promoting mental health: "This is my third time participating in the Bal des lumières. I firmly believe that supporting mental health is a priority. Mental health issues can have considerable economic and social impact. Thanks to initiatives like the Bal des lumières, we're developing new solutions to prevent, treat and raise awareness about mental illnesses. I'm very proud to support these advancements."

The mission of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation is to finance the development of the Douglas Institute: patient care, research in neuroscience and mental health, education and training. The funds collected will help the Foundation pursue essential research on preventing and treating mental illnesses, including depression, mood disorders, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis. The funds raised will provide much-needed support to over 10,000 patients, as well as to a team of internationally-renowned experts in clinical and basic research.

The Fondation de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal helps the largest francophone psychiatric institution in Canada achieve its goals by supporting first-rate research and clinical care to help patients participate fully in society. The Institut's services are no longer limited to addressing symptoms and treating patients. It has taken on the ambitious goal of rehabilitating patients by building strong community ties to promote social reintegration.

The mission of the Fondation Jeunes en Tête is to prevent psychological distress among youth aged 11 to 18 in Quebec. The funds collected will help support its Partners for Life program, offered free in high schools across Quebec. Over the past 20 years, this program has educated over 1,150,000 people ages 14 and up about the signs and symptoms of depression, and raised awareness about available resources. This year, the Fondation will roll out a new program for 12- and 13-year-old children which is intended to promote mental health, mitigate anxiety and depression, and develop self-knowledge and social skills.