This is the fourth year the awards have been held to honour community members “who have made kindness and compassion an extension of their work life by supporting people with mental health and substance use challenges.” (Black Press file photo)

Victoria judge and restaurant owner receive awards during Mental Health Week

‘Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind, we should all treat others the way we want to be treated’

A judge and a restaurant owner in Victoria have both received a prestigious award for supporting people with mental health and substance use challenges.

The Island Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) South Island Advisory Committee presented retired provincial court judge, Ernie Quantz, and restaurant owner, Lori Tronko, with MHSU Community Service Awards during national Mental Health Week.

“By recognizing that mental health and substance use challenges are health conditions – and not a sign of weakness or moral failure – we can make it easier for more people to realize they are not alone and reach out for help,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Community champions like Judge Quantz and Lori Tronko are building stronger and more inclusive communities by helping people to feel seen, heard and cared for and by helping people get the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

This is the fourth year the awards have been held to honour community members “who have made kindness and compassion an extension of their work life by supporting people with mental health and substance use challenges.”

RELATED: A new kind of court

In the criminal justice system, for those people with mental health and substance use challenges who were willing to accept responsibility for their offence, Quantz introduced in 2010 an innovative, integrated program to provide supports, including housing, counselling and treatment options rather than jail.

This program has helped hundreds of individuals to access services.

“Time and time again, offenders struggling with mental health and substance use issues would come into my courtroom and often it was clear that they needed more community help and support to protect the public by addressing the underlying causes of the offender’s criminal activity,” said Judge Quantz. “The integrated court program improves access to health, social and economic services for chronic offenders struggling with mental health and substance use issues, enhances public safety, and holds offenders accountable for their actions in a timely manner.”

RELATED: Healing and redemption in the garden

Lori Tronko, who owns Lori’s Takeaway Café, was recognized with the award for her compassion, respect and friendliness towards individuals with mental health and substance use challenges. Tronko’s café, located at 2560 Quadra St., provides a safe and inviting place for Island Health MHSU staff members to bring their clients for food and conversation.

“I’ve made good mental health a priority in my life since I was young and know that those struggling with mental health conditions have nothing to be ashamed of,” said Tronko. “Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind and we should all treat others the way we want to be treated.”

The MHSU South Island Advisory Committee purchases artwork to present to the award recipients created by artists with lived experience.

“Recognizing community members for treating others with kindness and compassion is such an honour for our team,” said Sharlene Law, chair of MHSU South Island Advisory Committee. “People struggling with mental health and substance use issues are people, too. By treating others with compassion and understanding, Judge Quantz and Lori Tronko are helping to reduce stigma, gain trust and positively influence the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Scorpion found in B.C. woman’s kitchen finds new home in Victoria

The Victoria Bug Zoo welcomed the scorpion on Saturday

B.C. getting less bang for its buck

B.C.’s CPI topped 2.7 per cent in April 2019, compared to two per cent for all of Canada

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read