London author honoured as national mental health champion

Rotary Club of London partners with author to get books into London elementary schools.

A young London author will receive a national award for her work regarding mental health just as the books she has written are making their way into London elementary schools.

Kristin Legault-Donkers, 20, will get the Sharon Johnston Champion of Mental Health Award for Youth next month for her advocacy and mentoring, including her series of children’s books on mental health. Last week, the Rotary Club of London finalized a partnership with the author to supply Legault-Donkers’ books to each London elementary school.

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Legault-Donkers, a former St. Thomas resident now studying psychology at Western University, has had her own struggles with mental health, and her mother had bipolar disorder. She researched, wrote and published four books known as the Children’s Mental Health Series in 2016 to help young people dealing with depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder.

Legault-Donkers used her own money, about $15,000 left to her by her mother, who died when she was nine, to publish the books, which were illustrated by St. Thomas graphic artist Paul Wilson.

With her books, as well as her advocacy, mentoring, and blogging, Legault-Donkers wanted to improve understanding about mental illness. “The Rotary Club also saw value in raising awareness, decreasing stigma and building community support. They have helped me share the message in a big way and I am grateful for their support,” she said in a news release.

The series was made into an educational package that has been used at schools in London.

The champions awards, presented by the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health, will be held in Ottawa on May 8. The gala is presented by Bell Let’s Talk.

Read more news of London on our site.

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