Mayor Guthrie to host 17th annual event for World Mental Health Day

Rick and Heather Osborne present their story of resilience and redemption

Guelph, ON, October 3, 2016– Members of the public are invited to a free presentation hosted by Mayor Cam Guthrie to mark World Mental Health Day on Thursday, October 13, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Guelph City Hall.

The presentation will feature Rick and Heather Osborne, a husband and wife team who have together spent decades delivering outreach services for youth in need.

Rick, one of Canada’s leading gang experts, was traumatized as a teenager and began a journey into drug addiction and street gangs that led to incarceration at the age of 21. He spent the next 25 years in 33 different federal prisons. In 1993, after breaking free from drug addictions, he began to reform his life and has since dedicated himself to working with at-risk youth. His story of redemption allows him to speak with unmatched credibility about the dangers of gangs, drugs, and criminal activity.

Heather has 22 years of experience teaching youth and adults with special needs in alternate settings, including prisons and hospitals. She provides educational support for people with experiences of addiction, anxiety, depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and other special needs.

As part of the event, an art exhibit called Letters to my younger self will be on display in the City Hall Galleria. The piece is a Spark of Brilliance project that involves people with lived experience of mental health and/or addictions issues offering words of wisdom to their younger selves. Spark of Brilliance is a community-based mental health initiative that promotes healing, recovery and discovery through the expressive arts. There will also be information displays from community agencies and service providers.

“I’m proud to continue the tradition of gathering together for learning and discussion on World Mental Health Day,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I want to thank the local agencies who help organize this event every year. I also want to thank all those who attend to learn, and help break down the stigmas that still exist around mental health.”

The event is no cost, but attendees are asked to register at

World Mental Health Day is observed in 112 countries on six continents. Begun in 2000 by former Mayor Joe Young, every Guelph Mayor since has hosted an event to mark this day. The event aims to promote mental health, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, raise awareness of mental health supports available in Guelph and Wellington, and foster positive action among policy-makers.

This event is delivered in partnership by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo Wellington; Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington; Homewood Health Centre; Spark of Brilliance; Torchlight; and the City of Guelph.


Presentation to mark World Mental Health Day


Mayor Cam Guthrie
Rick and Heather Osborne


Guelph City Hall, 1 Carden Street
Council Chambers and Room 112


Thursday, October 13, 2016
Presentation begins promptly at 1 p.m.
Register here:

For more information
Kate Sullivan
Communications Assistant
Mayor’s Office
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2558