—Toronto, ON, September 12, 2014—
Tonight the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) will present the CPA President’s Commendation to Sheldon Kennedy for his national advocacy work in mental health.
A former NHL player, Kennedy is well known for his decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey League Coach with sexual assault for the abuses he suffered over a five-year period while a teenager under his care and his subsequent decision to make those charges public.
“Sheldon Kennedy has turned his personal situation into positive action, becoming a driving force for the improved treatment and prevention of child abuse,” said Dr. Michael Teehan who was inspired by his visit to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary earlier this year.
Kennedy played a primary role in the vision and development of the Centre which brings together paediatricians, nurses, social workers, community services, police and legal services under one roof to deliver care to the most complex and difficult child abuse cases in Calgary and surrounding areas. The centre, now 18 months old, was inspired some four years ago by a visit to a similar although smaller Centre in Colorado. It embraces prevention, education, family support, legal services and research, and provides direct clinical care to individuals and families affected by abuse.
Kennedy began his advocacy work many years ago. In 1998 he in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of child abuse, donating all 1.2 million in proceeds from the skate to Respect ED, the Canadian Red Cross’ violence and abuse prevention program.
Ten years ago Kennedy and Wayne McNeil co-founded Respect Inc. and partnered with experts from Respect ED to provide online public education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment in sport, schools and the workplace.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada’s 4,700 psychiatrists and more than 600 psychiatric residents. Founded in 1951, the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters excellence in the provision of clinical care, education and research.