Local artist Geneviève "VooV" Chatelain with auctioneer Guy "Biz" Bissonnette, ready to start the auction. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)

Breaking the stigma on mental health through art and passion

A special fundraiser took place on Friday, April 13 at Déjà Vu in Hawkesbury.

The event’s goal was twofold: amassing funds for the Hawkesbury General Hospital Foundation destined to be used for mental health services and also to “break the stigma” regarding the topic of mental health.

To help break the stigma, speakers Véronique Portelance and Émilie Chatelain, the event organizer, took the mic and gave passionate speeches on mental health. Even though both speakers approached the topic from different angles, the point was the same: being silent and avoiding the topic always makes things worse.

“The money is honestly just a great bonus. Breaking the stigma and talking about the issue is the real goal,” said Chatelain.

The events had many performers, including Marie-Clo and Gabrielle Goulet, who both donated the gifts of song and music.

Local stand-up artist Max Richard also took the mic, kick-starting the evening with some funny, yet thought-provoking anecdotes.

Finally, the evening’s highlight was undoubtedly the auction.

Up for grabs were wonderful works of art from two local artists; a selection of pictures from local director Didier Charette and paintings from VooV, AKA Geneviève Chatelain, event organizer Émilie Chatelain’s sister.

“I chose paintings that represent me growing as an artist. We picked ten that stood out. Some of them are my babies… It’ll be hard to let them go. Every piece has an emotion tied to it, but tonight is about letting go of the past and concentrating on the future,” said VooV.

The evening was a great success; the place was packed with people supporting the cause.

The auction was indeed a fun time, with many pieces sold for several hundreds of dollars by veteran auctioneer Guy “Biz” Bissonnette.

In the end, “Brisons le stigma” was great for many reasons: A labour of love, a convergence of local artists… And a powerful lesson reminding everyone present that nothing truly important should ever be taboo.


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Event organizer Émilie Chatelain addressing the crowd. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)

 

Lefaivre’s own Marie-Clo performed a set on-stage with her band. A great performer, Marie-Clo delivered each song with energy and passion. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)

 

Speaker Véronique Portelance gave a touching talk on the importance of breaking stigmas regarding mental health. (Photo credit: Cedrik Bertrand)