Red Deer psychiatrist Dr. Norm Costigan has received the highest praise from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
On Oct. 3 in Ottawa, Costigan was given the C.M. Hincks award for his ongoing work supporting individuals with mental illness in Central Alberta.
It’s the national organization’s highest award, presented annually to one outstanding individual or organization that has advanced mental health in Canada through their work or volunteer activities by working on behalf of people with mental illness.
Canadian Mental Health Association in Red Deer nominated Costigan.
Executive director Patricia Turnbull said Costigan takes a very holistic approach to helping people. In addition to medical treatment, he recognizes the need for housing and connection to a support system.
Costigan holds clinics on site at the Buffalo housing project because people there have a difficult time being part of a more formal system, she said.
“He’s always looking at new ways to support people, creative ways to support people, and using all the resources we can in the community,” Turnbull said.
“He’s someone we truly wanted to acknowledge because he goes above and beyond.”
Costigan has been a board member with the local CMHA office for 18 years. He also works with clients of Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing.
Executive director Kath Hoffman said Safe Harbour has many clients with high needs and Costigan really listens to them.
“He’s always willing to help, always returns phone calls and emails,” Hoffman said. “We truly couldn’t do it without him.”
Costigan is also a great support to staff and an educator on mental health issues.
“We’re thrilled he got the award.”