Living with Mental Illness
and Addiction Conference

November 7th, 2019



09:00 am - Welcome & Introduction

09:05 am - Garry Leech

09:45 am - Break

10:05 am - Art Therapy and the Journey to a Healthy Mind
Gavin Quinn (The Outsiders Insight Project), Tom Curry (NSHA Music Therapist), and Rachel Power (Arts Health Antigonish) - Livestream from Antigonish

10:45 am - Karen Campbell-Green

11:05 am - Keith Anderson

12:00 pm - Lunch

01:00 pm - Substance Use & Stigma panel

02:00 pm - Break

02:15 pm - Park Bench Players - Livestream from Antigonish

02:45 pm - Dr. Mian Awards

03:00 pm - Wrap up & Thank You

Living with Mental Illness and Addiction conference is presented by:



Garry Leech is a journalist and author who worked as a war correspondent in Colombia for 13 years as well as in Venezuela, Cuba and the West Bank. In 2016, he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

His latest book Ghosts Within: Journeying Through PTSD reveals the long-term costs of violence and war and describes the realities of living with a mental illness.


Gavin Quinn is the founder of the Outsider Insight Project, a national non-profit organization that run by and for people with mental illness, and those who have been effected by mental illness. It promotes awareness of issues facing those living with mental illness and that advocates for understanding and acceptance.

Gavin lives Truro with his wife Jolene, their 14-year-old son Nash, their two cats and dog. Originally from the Annapolis Valley, he has also lived in Alberta, Winnipeg, and Halifax. While a participant at Laing House, his skills in creative photography grew and he was hired to work on their brochures, websites, and other projects. Gavin was involved in the Red Umbrella Art Collective and has become a strong mental health patient advocate.

Gavin is an avid snowboarder and when not creating art, he can be found on a ski hill enjoying his passion.


Since late 2013, music therapist Tom Curry has provided individual and group-based music therapy services at St. Martha's Regional in Antigonish, arranged through the Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!) community collaboration. More recently, he has brought his talents to the youth health centers at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School and East Antigonish Education Centre and Academy. The introduction of music therapy has contributed to positive outcomes for patients, students, families and staff.

According to Curry, some have said that music therapy has provided a way to "engage people socially, reintroduce them to positive coping, build self-esteem, and encourage participation in activities of daily living."

Others have found it's provided adults living with cognitive impairment with a way to reconnect to memories and abilities of their past - an effect that has been therapeutic and has offered much comfort to some patients in their last weeks of life. The addition of this service has been a powerful and transformative enhancement across the continuum of care.


For the past three years, Rachel has been the Artist in Residence at St. Martha's Regional Hospital. Her passion for the arts, education and community health are what attracted me to Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!).

Rachel grew up in Antigonish, she lived in different parts of the Canada and internationally, and then returned home to Nova Scotia nine years ago. Much of her studies have revolved around education and the arts, and in 2015, she completed a Masters of Education in Visual Arts Education from St.FX.

As well as being the Artist in Residence at St. Martha's, she is the Arts Coordinator for Antigonish Culture Alive, the local arts council, the Creative Director of The Arts House and she teach the Curriculum and Instruction in Visual Arts course in the Department of Teacher Education at St.FX.


Karen Campbell-Green grew up in the Tower Road Birch Grove areas of Cape Breton and currently lives in Donkin.

She enjoys attending weekly chef lead cooking classes at Sobeys in Glace Bay, attending shows at the HAT and Savoy, going to concerts and travelling. She became passionate about mental health issues 8 years ago after her teenage daughter was diagnosed with OCD.

In June 2015, she was 1 of 36 Canadian citizens selected to serve on the citizen’s reference panel for the mental health action plan in Ottawa. The purpose of this panel was to work toward a set of shared recommendations to improve issues concerning mental health and mental illness in Canada.

She speaking today from a parent’s perspective. Learning your child has a mental illness can be very overwhelming, watching your child live with a mental illness isn’t easy.

It's tough.


Keith is a lawyer who had depression. He first went public with his depression 11 years ago with an article in the National Post newspaper, called How I Returned to a Life Worth Living. Since then, Keith has spoken at national mental health conferences, legal conferences, universities, and fundraisers. He has also served on numerous Boards of Directors and Committees for mental health non-profit groups. His articles have appeared in publications of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the Canadian Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

A few years ago, he put all of his work under the brand Worth Living Mental Health Consulting. Worth Living offers a blog, podcasts, conferences, and is now delivering online courses. Keith is also the Cape Breton Lead for the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division.


The Park Bench Players theatre troupe, based in Antigonish began in 2011 to increase mental health literacy, reduce stigma and discrimination, and bring the topic of life with mental illness out of the darkness and into the light of daily conversations.

The cast members live with chronic and persistent mental illness and get on stage to share their messages in a script created from their ‘first-voice’, lived experience.

ThemPark Bench Players have performed to audiences across Nova Scotia and as far west as Vancouver, BC for the 2012 Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada National Conference.

To date they have presented 99 shows (approx. 12,000 audience members) and are dedicated to keep the show on the road for an upcoming special feature marking the 100th!