Recognition for Alberta’s Mental Health Leaders

Leaders working to break down stigma and deliver innovative mental health and addiction services are receiving special recognition from Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Lois E. Mitchell.

Recipients of the True Awards from The Lieutenant Governor’s Circle on Mental Health and Addiction set the standard for groundbreaking and compassionate care, offer dedicated service to Albertans and bravely share personal journeys to inspire others.

Recipients of the 2018 True Awards are:

True Grit Award – Mike Loughman (Airdrie): With multiple mental health disorders, Mike lived with addiction for 22 years. He lived on streets, is a survivor of molestation and of suicide attempts and overdoses. Mike is currently 47 months sober and started two businesses called SURRENDER 2 SOBRIETY and OPEN MIKE SPEAKER.

True Compassion Award – Clean Scene (Edmonton): Clean Scene committed its energy and resources to support and educate youth to reach their full potential through the pursuit of a drug- and crime-free lifestyle. With a wealth of first-hand experience in the drug world and more than two decades of involvement in crime, founder Mike Ryan facilitated preventive drug education in thousands of presentations to over 350,000 young people and adults.

Donald S Ethell Youth Award #1 – Mehul Gupta (Calgary): Mehul is a second-year Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Calgary who has worked to create stronger, more interconnected communities across Canada. Through his work with various levels of government, non-profit organizations and youth-led initiatives, Mehul has always been committed to making this vision a reality. In addition to his work with Kids Help Phone, Mehul has helped create various non-profit organizations looking to promote understanding of diversity and inclusivity in Calgary.

Donald S Ethell Youth Award #2 – Rylie Essington (Calgary): After experiencing an extremely difficult challenge, worsened by the cruelty of her peers when it became public, Rylie developed a passion for youth mental health and reducing the stigma that prevents so many from reaching out. Following a rigorous national selection process, Rylie secured one of 10 spots in Queen’s University’s Accelerated Route to Medical School, the only program of its kind in Canada. She is looking forward to improving the awareness, accessibility, and engagement of mental health programs while attending Queen’s University as she pursues her dream of becoming a medical doctor.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton on Friday, Oct. 12. Information about the Circle and the True Awards is at