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Volunteers dedicate time, art and talent to improving mental health services

Local artist VooV will have paintings on auction at a fundraiser held at Déjà Vu on April 13, 2018. Funds will be used to improve local mental health services. (Submitted photo)

A special fundraising event will take place on Friday, April 13, 2018 at Déjà Vu Restaurant & Bar in Hawkesbury.

The goal: raising funds and awareness for mental health. The evening will feature an art auction and some live performances. A special table d’hôte will also be available for dinner.

“My twin sister has severe bipolar disorder,” said event organizer Émilie Chatelain.

“That’s why my sister Geneviève and I are organizing all this.”

Chatelain’s sister, Geneviève, locally known by her artist name “VooV”, will have some of her paintings for sale by auction at the event.

Chatelain stated that the initiative coincides with the Hawkesbury General Hospital (HGH) expansion, which shall include a psychiatric wing.

An HGH employee herself, Chatelain said that funds are always needed and adds that “the province may pay for ‘the walls’, but not for everything found within.”

For Chatelain, the ideal use for the funds would be: specialized equipment as well as employee training.

“Now that I work in a hospital, I better understand both sides of the mental health situation. The problem isn’t with ‘the bottom line system’ (hospitals), it’s what’s above the system. Ontario has $3.7 billion dollars a year for mental health. Of that amount, 35% of that goes to administration, 20% to various psychiatric hospitals, 25% to community services and the remaining funds go… ‘somewhere'”.

Chatelain is partnered with the HGH Foundation for her event and is determined to amass funds that will be used exclusively in helping mental health patients.

The event starts at 6 .m. with a special dinner, during which speakers will address those present.

“I asked my speakers to prepare two stories: one with a happy ending and one with a sad ending. I want people to know how good services can make all the difference. My goal is to stay away from taboos… I just want everyone to know that sickness happens. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

The evening will then feature the auction and live performances by singers Marie-Clo and Gabrielle Goulet. Every participating artist is volunteering their time, works and talent.

Chatelain confirmed that no tickets or reservations are required to participate and that the featured menu will have a wide range of choices and prices to ensure that everyone can afford a good meal that evening. Additionally, every table d’hôte ordered will represent a $4 extra donation.

Anyone requiring more information on the April 13, 2018 event may contact Émilie Chatelain directly via email, at e.chatelain@hotmail.com.

Émilie and Voov will also be at Hawkesbury’s Le Chenail on June 1st for a special vernissage aimed once again at amassing funds and raising awareness for mental health.


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