New Carleton student Dustin Garron has received a Top 20 Under 20 award. The award honours young Canadians who are under the age of 20 years old and have demonstrated leadership, innovation and achievement. The Top 20 program is designed to identify outstanding young Canadian leaders, further develop their skills and aptitudes and fuel their passions.
Garron, who will begin a criminology degree at Carleton this fall, received the award for his ongoing work on depression and mental health issues among teenagers. He is the founder of The Mental Health Project, a program which educates teens about the resources available to help them cope with depression and to encourage a full recovery.
Garron has a personal connection to the issue he champions. Following a lengthy hospital stay for treatment of depression, he emerged determined to become a beacon for other struggling teens. Soon after, he began work on The Mental Health Project.
“I am so honoured and humbled to have won a National Top 20 Under 20 Award,” said Garron, a native of Renfrew, Ont. “As a seven-time suicide attempt survivor, it really did put a bow of achievement on my full recovery.”
As part of his work with the project, he appears regularly at local schools to speak about his experience to students. He is currently working on developing a peer-to-peer hotline where teens are able to call and speak to someone who can help them.
“The Mental Health Project makes it its mission to help teens get through these often difficult years,” said Garron. “Together, we can do this.”
As part of the award, Garron received a $5,000 scholarship. He also had the opportunity to attend a three-day leadership summit in Toronto, where he met with CEOs and community leaders. He will also receive mentorship from Lisa Diamond, CEO of Youth in Motion, the not-for-profit organization that grants the Top 20 Under 20 Awards.
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