October 30th, 2020

Mental-health advocates meet pope

By Submitted Article on November 22, 2019.


A former Lethbridge resident and graduate of the University of Lethbridge was among those granted a general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatkican earlier this month.

Austin Mardon and his wife, Catherine, who live in Edmonton, have worked tirelessly on behalf of people with mental illness, and were inducted in 2017 into the Pontifical Order of Pope Saint Sylvester, a papal Order of Knighthood, on the basis of their work. They met Pope Francis on Nov. 6.

Mardon, an assistant adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, has schizophrenia and Catherine, a retired lawyer, has PTSD. Besides their efforts on mental health issues, they foster children and young adults with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Mardon is a member of the Order of Canada and both were recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1992, Mardon has since worked extensively as a mental health advocate and has written books on the subject. In 2011, the Canadian Mental Health Association awarded him the Medal of Honour.

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