As MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills, I have a front row seat to the extraordinary spirit and generosity of the people in our riding.
We care, which is why so many of our residents give of their time, talent and hard-earned money to give back to others in need. It seems to be ingrained in us, and it’s part of our culture.
One such need is mental health.
The pandemic has affected all of us, and the maintenance of good mental health has been the key to the resilience we’ve had to acquire to get through it.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and its local branches have been at the forefront of providing supports and services to help. And their work is not unnoticed.
In fact, one of our local residents, Robert Eilers, has donated $50 million (yes, fifty million dollars) to CMHA to build a new Centre for Children’s Mental Health and Developmental Services in Guelph. I was pleased to join Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner at the groundbreaking event, held on July 22nd.
Mr. Eilers thanked CMHA by telling his own personal story of overcoming adversity.
“Please never doubt for one minute the impact you have on the children that you help and support every day. You make a difference in ways you may never see, and sometimes it can take decades to see the results of your efforts. Someone helped me 35 years ago when I was 17…today was their doing,” he said. “I was on a very different, very destructive path and they supported me and helped me take a different, more constructive, more positive path.”
Mr. Eiler’s donation is believed to be the most generous to CMHA ever.
CMHA’s local CEO Helen Fishburn highlighted why the donation is so timely. “Children, youth and their families are struggling and suffering more with mental health issues than ever before, thanks to this thing called COVID,” she said.
Robert Eiler shows us mental health challenges can be overcome, and caring and generosity are alive and well in our communities.