MHCC joins hundreds of guests to celebrate nurses at annual gala

Days before the start of National Nursing Week, Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) President and CEO Louise Bradley addressed the annual Nightingale Gala, hosted by the Canadian Nurses Foundation.

“When I began my career in mental health nursing, it was assumed I couldn’t stand the sight of blood or couldn’t hack it as a ‘real nurse,’ ” said Bradley, addressing a packed room. “Thankfully things have changed and we are celebrating all nurses and everything they do to keep us healthy and well.”

Evidence confirms that direct care nurses can play a key role by intervening early to recognize and address mental health problems or illnesses. Bradley was on hand to help introduce a new scholarship: The Lundbeck Canada Mental Health Nursing Award, which dedicates $75,000 over the next three years to fund scholarships for nurses pursuing graduate studies in mental health.

The evening also put the spotlight on Indigenous nursing. Hours before the gala, CNF announced the launch of its One Million in One Year campaign to raise funds for Indigenous nursing and education. This investment will support Indigenous communities across the country and build capacity for First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses ­— particularly those working in mental health.

Held at Ottawa’s Shaw Centre, gala guests were treated to an Inuit throat singing performance by the “Ministers of Cute” — 11-year-olds Samantha Kigutaq-Metcalfe and Cailyn Degrandpre. After pausing to acknowledge the devastation in Fort McMurray, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau spoke about the empathetic and caring influence of her own mother, a nurse. Following dinner, David White Deer Charette from Wikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve wowed the crowd with a moving song and hand drum performance. Watch his performance here.