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mississauga.com

Mental health advocate Margaret Trudeau – mother of PM Justin, ex-wife of PM Pierre – will deliver the keynote address at Interim Place’s upcoming fundraiser.

Diagnosed with bipolar disease herself, she is well-known as a strong champion for helping to remove the social stigma that tends to accompany the label.

“She experienced mental health issues while in the spotlight and that takes courage, said Julia Robinson, development coordinator, Interim Place. “We thought of her because behind every powerful man is a strong woman and she’s a strong woman between two very powerful men.”

The 4th annual Rays of Hope will take place, Saturday, March 5 at the Embassy Grand Convention Centre, 8800 The Gore Rd. in Brampton at 6 p.m.  Proceeds will go towards providing programs and services for Peel women that seek refuge from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

 “There’s definitely an interconnection between women that survive domestic violence and mental health,”Robinson said. “We know one in two women we support suffer from some form of mental health problem.”

Interim Place will also honour Trudeau with the Woman of Courage award at the event.

Last year, the Mississauga-based shelter for women and children fleeing violence, housed some 173 women and 142 children in its emergency shelters and successfully helped them transition to safety.  Also, the shelter responded to 1,022 crisis calls and offered counselling, support and information to women in distress, explained Robinson.

Even though Interim Place helps women and children rebuild their lives after they have gone through a traumatic experience, acute shortage of affordable homes in Peel poses a huge challenge, explained Robinson.

“Our shelters are always at capacity,” she said. “Women are staying a bit longer every year because of the housing crisis in Peel. So, when it’s time for women to leave the shelter to start their new lives, we’re finding it’s harder and harder to get housing.”

The gala’s theme this year is “Fire and Ice,” which will be reflected in the décor. The banquet hall will be decked in shades of icy blue and fiery reds. Entertainment includes performance by a fire artist.

This is Trudeau’s second appearance as keynote speaker for the Interim Place fundraiser. In 2006, she spoke about her battle with depression and coping with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She also outlined her work with Water Aid Canada, a charity organization that helps supply clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

In 2010, Margaret Trudeau chronicled her struggles with mental health in her book, Changing My Mind.

Tickets to the gala cost $200 per person and include a four-course meal, silent and live auction. To purchase tickets visit here. For more information, call 905-403-9691 ext. 2223.

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