The awards honour successful efforts to reduce stigma, encourage recovery and strengthen programs and services in the area of mental health and addiction. People across Alberta are finding inspiring ways to address the mental health and addiction challenges faced by individuals and society as a whole. Help us celebrate their accomplishments.
Congratulations to the 2019 True Award recipients!
Wade Sorochan’s (Sor-o-kin’s) childhood dream was to be on the radio. Even though there were many difficulties in his personal life, he never gave up on that dream. He is one of Edmonton’s most well-known and accomplished broadcasters. Nicknamed “The Tone Arm” Wade became the first broadcaster in history to spontaneously use song clips to enhance a radio talk show. He is recognized as a talk show pioneer in a career that has spanned four decades. Wade’s broadcasting career highlights include: The Bill and Bill Show on 930 CJCA: Wake Up With Wade on 101.7 World FM: LifeTalk with Wade Sorochan on 930 CJCA: Edmonton Live with Wade Sorochan on SHAW TV: Edmonton This Week on 630 CHED. Wade Sorochan’s broadcasting career came to end in 2014. He has now become an award-winning speaker, author and mental health advocate.
As a mental illness survivor, Wade is a sought-after motivational speaker sharing his inspiring personal story of a lifelong struggle with mental illness at numerous events, including the 2011 International Symposium on Wellness and the 2017 National Mental Health Conference. He shares important mental health information and talks openly about his mental health struggles with anxiety, depression, OCD and ADHD; he also shares about being emotionally abused and abandoned as a child, experiencing five mental breakdowns, eventually hitting rock bottom, and how he is living with mental illness today. After his 5th mental breakdown, Wade ended up in the hospital emergency department where he was immediately placed in an intensive three-month psychiatric program; the program helped him learn how to deal with his extreme anxiety, worry and depression by using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Coming out of the program, Wade knew he needed to use his name recognition to help and inspire others who were suffering. He created a mental health initiate called P.A.T.H. (Positive Action for Mental Health). He partnered with mental health professionals to provide information, presentations, workshops, support groups and counselling services. Wade’s powerful and inspiring message connects with those who are suffering and their supporters to provide encouragement and hope, which Wade believes stands for Hang On Pain Ends.
In 2016 Wade released his ground-breaking book UNSocial Media; Virtual World Causing Real World Anxiety. The book, which is endorsed by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, reveals how social media affects mental health. Wade’s presentation on the subject has impacted over 20,000 students, teachers and parents throughout Canada with the important message of balancing the virtual world with the real world to avoid mental health and addiction issues. In 2017 Wade released his second book Fastest Tone Arm in the West; Chasing a Radio Dream. The book, which is endorsed by hockey legend Paul Henderson, features entertaining career highlights as well as Wade’s difficult life journey on and off the air. Wade is the recipient of the CAM-H (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) National “Difference Makers” Award recognizing 150 leading Canadians for mental health and the “Canada 150 in 150” Award” recognizing 150 Inspiring Albertans. Wade Sorochan has been featured by major Canadian media outlets throughout Canada including the Toronto Star, CTV, City TV and Global Television and is recognized as Canada’s Leading Mental Health Advocate and Social Media Expert.
2019 Recipient: Pam Brown
As a child growing up in Northern Alberta, Pam Brown learned the unwritten rule about visitors who arrived just before meal time – they were hungry and hoped you would share your meal, as little as it may be. It was moments like these where she grew to understand that empathy without action is an opportunity wasted.
Pam recently celebrated her 37th year with Oxford Properties – Edmonton City Centre and is proud of the work culture that recognizes their role as a member of the community. In her various roles leading up to her current position of Safety & Security Manager, Pam often felt that she had little positive and sustainable impact regarding community relations between the most vulnerable and those with corporate commitments. Invitations to sit on committees for the City of Edmonton Suicide Prevention Strategy and the United Way Community Mental Health Action Plan offered her the opportunities she needed to voice the concerns of the private sector in a public format and effect changes that would serve the needs of customers from all walks of life in ways that would be most meaningful to them. These first few connections garnered her the privilege of working with people who have dedicated their lives to the well being of others, the often-unsung heroes who work tirelessly to support the vulnerable populations in their quest to lead meaningful and dignified lives.
Pam knows that had her life been different she could be that street involved or vulnerable person and so her simple commitment to herself is to share what she has when she has it, to listen without judgement and to never shy away from giving a hug to someone who needs one.
2019 Recipient: Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta
The Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA) is a non-profit organization and a registered charity dedicated to providing meaningful support to those affected– directly and indirectly– by eating disorders. Founded at a dining room table in 2014 by Moyra McAllister, an individual whose daughter had developed an eating disorder, this grassroots organization grew from Moyra’s personal experience and inspired her desire to support others. This vision is reflected in the vision of EDSNA, wherein no one should have to face an eating disorder alone.
Initially operating as a website of resources and a few professionally-facilitated support groups in Edmonton, EDSNA has grown exponentially in the few years it has been serving the community. Now offering not only that extensive website of resources, EDSNA has expanded support group offerings to the city of Calgary and online formats, thereby enabling clients and caregivers to access support in the way most accessible to them. EDSNA is a host for Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 1st-7th) in the province of Alberta, and regularly offers educational events for healthcare professionals and the public.
This organization also continues to raise awareness through presentations and info booths, works to strengthen relationships with -and between - community partners and treatment professionals, and strives to foster the growth of a collaborative and integrated support network in Alberta.
Through the hard work of many dedicated individuals, EDSNA provides information, guidance, a provincial voice, a community hub for resources, and, most of all, support, for Albertans who are isolated by this devastating illness.