The fourth edition of A Beacon in the Night was a huge success thanks to the hundreds of people who came out to show their support for a holistic approach for recovery from mental illness. The event took place on June 16th and 17th at l’Université de Moncton.
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The photo shows Dr. Gabriel Girouard at the piano, with Brigitte Sonier-Ferguson, Regional Director - Research, Scientific Development, and Training. Credit: Ben Champoux 

“Life seems to lose all meaning when the pleasure is gone, your thoughts become confused, and your senses play tricks on you”, says Dr. Patrick Marcotte, Psychiatrist at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and event organizer. “In my opinion, the true heroes of this world are those battle mental health issues on a daily basis. I wish to thank everyone who supported our event. Your attendance in itself is a powerful reminder to those suffering that this cause is important to you.”

A Beacon in the Night is an awareness campaign hoping to demystify and destigmatize mental health issues. The annual event is organized by the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre’s Psychiatry Department, in collaboration with the CHU Dumont Foundation. However, A Beacon in the Night is about more than awareness; in fact, it is an event where the spotlight shines on patients for whom the planning and production of the event becomes part of their treatment plan. All activities that play a crucial role in mental health recovery, such as visual arts, writing, music, performing arts, and testimonials, are encouraged and valorized.

“Being part of A Beacon in the Night provides me with an escape from my mental illness”, explains Todd Arsenault, a participant. “For me, everything else falls away when I perform. And this is an opportunity to share my passion for music with a most receptive and respectful audience.”

Different activities were organized throughout the weekend for this years’ edition. On Friday, things kicked off with an informal evening of music. On Saturday, conferences featuring specialists in the field were open to the public. Renowned speaker Dr. Marie-Josée Poulin, a Psychiatrist at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec who has given hundreds of presentations nationally and abroad, was here to speak on schizophrenia. An art expo also took place on Saturday featuring pieces from over 40 artists. Finally, the event concluded with the great A Beacon in the Night variety show.

According to Jacques B. LeBlanc, President and CEO of the CHU Dumont Foundation, the event was a great success.

“Mental health is a topic that affects us all in one way or another. We have to speak openly about it. We have to get rid of the myths surrounding mental illness. I think this event is an important step forward to bring mental health out of the shadows. We saw many people from our community come out and share their passion and stories. The Foundation is proud to join the efforts to demystify and destigmatize mental health.”

For more information on the event, go to www.abeaconinthenight.org or visit the Facebook page (Un phare dans la nuit).

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