01 February 2021 – Craig Maguire, CEO/Mental Health Therapist
IMPRESSIONS Family Counselling Services Inc. | ConnectME Associates Inc.
Photo of Dr. Warren Shepell
Credits: MacLeans, 17 December 2017, Photo & Article by Megan Campbell (Link to on-line article)
Although I am certainly no literary genius who fires off article after article, over the years I have certainly posted some articles, particularly on my website, concerning matters that concern and bewilder many of us, especially in light of today’s Society and the norms, customs, ethics and values that seem to be escaping us in record form. I have often commented that the World today is certainly unlike anything I ever remember from my past, especially those care-free days of childhood when fairness, compassion and helping one another always seemed to prevail, no matter the circumstances. We were families, we were neighbours, and we were surely tight-knit Communities that came together at times of crisis to make sure we did all we could to support one of our own during drastic and devastating times.
I still believe, and firmly maintain, that there are so many good people in our Society and, like them, I am one person who simply cannot abandon those guiding principles for which I was raised and have always lived my life. This article is dedicated to you; those who, despite your own perils in life, have never stood apart from the challenges life has thrown at you and never disregarded another’s hardship and suffering without stepping forward to make a difference, no matter how small or large that difference may have realized.
Whether you are a practitioner of the social and emotional services, such as psychology or social work, or not, you may be familiar with the name Dr. Warren Shepell. Let me be upfront and honest right off. I have personally never met Dr. Shepell. In fact, until recently, I have never really had many conversations with him, with the exception of a few text notes over Linkedin throughout the years. For those of you who are familiar with Dr. Shepell, and even those of you who are not, its important that you realize that Dr. Shepell is a man of extraordinary contributions to our Society. He is the pioneer, founder and visionary of the entire system of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that are pretty much now the standard with all health care insurance plans in Canada, and beyond. He is responsible for laying the foundation which has ultimately developed (over the past three decades) our health care system and fostered our Society’s acknowledgement and acceptance of the responsibilities of actively meeting and providing for the emotional needs of people and families in Canada. He is indeed an un-sung Hero in raising mental health issues to the forefront of our Canadian Society for which we now enjoy these services which he firmly planted the bedrock of foundation and creation.
In my view, having more recently been in direct communications with Dr. Shepell, describe him as a very humble, compassionate, giving and gracious man. Much of his success in his life, I believe, is due to his personality which is so warm, inviting and accepting of all those around him. He is one of those types of people that everyone likes and is drawn to, simply due to his charismatic and comfortable engagement with all he meets. In many ways, he’s an everyone’s man – meaning, you’re going to have to look long and hard to find an excuse to not like him and enjoy your time with him.
Now, fast-forwarding, and dealing with a red hearing that may come to some minds. Dr. Shepell has enjoyed the benefits of his hard work over the years and reached a level of financial success which many of us will never enjoy. His career successes have supported him to a level of a multi-millionaire – an admirable achievement and a career success that most of us can only ever dream of realizing. Over the years though, through helping family members and countless others, attempting to launch other entrepreneur ventures, and some financial/investment decisions based on improper and incorrect financial advisers to whom he placed great trust, Dr. Shepell – now at age 72 – is on the verge of homelessness, does not earn enough on this Government and employment pensions to even pay his rent, and is, by all accounts, penniless.
Dr. Shepell is not a celebrity, a politician or the like. He is ONE OF US! He has thoroughly enjoyed and made it his life's work to ensure that Canadian voices be heard and that the emotional needs and health of all is taken seriously and without prejudice, stigma and unnecessary Societal ignorance in neglecting, and even perpetuating, the emotional and mental health needs of our citizens. Whether you are a health care professional or not truly makes no difference. Each and every one of us today enjoys the ready-to-access EAP services as a direct result of this one man's vision and insistence. It is these most-valued contributions that have brought to life the emergence of Societal awareness and open acceptance of health and wellness and the diligent attention it demands and deserves. Rather than erect a statue or dedication to him after he has left us, why not make a meaningful difference in HIS life now, as a means of saying thank you, and demonstrating our gratefulness for his lifetime achievement in supporting all Canadians.
To further illustrate the humbleness of this man, he has put all his inhibitions aside, and as difficult as it has been, has posted his story on Linkedin and shared with with thousands his plight now in the face of inevitable demise and destruction of any meaningful degree in his quality of life.. Over the past 30+ years, I have had many occasions to become emotionally saddened by the conditions faced by such wonderful and unique people. I have to say that when I read Dr. Shepell’s story, while sitting in a parking lot recently waiting my wife’s return from shopping for groceries, without warning or anticipation, I actually broke down and wept uncontrollably. Here is a man to whom I have, all of my professional life, held in such grand light, not for any other reason though except he clearly has always shown and performed actions that demonstrated his true compassion and desire to assist and support the many Canadian lives that were suffering and deserved better access to health care services for mental health provisions. No one has ever achieved what Dr. Shepell has, and respectfully, has never to-this-day, ever surpassed his accomplishments in making mental health a word that we can all speak of openly and honestly.
Now the red hearing I spoke of earlier – some will claim mismanagement of finances, and a whole host of other rationales for their judgements of Dr. Shepell and the circumstances he now finds himself. Respectfully, such issues are not up for debate as they are none of our business what-so-ever folks. Despite whatever “riches” Dr. Shepell may have had throughout his life, they were his – they were earned – they were deserved. The fact remains however, that like so many of the rest of us, through no fault of his own, he now sits alone, with limited supports, and with little hope for his future and remaining years.
By this point in reading about Dr. Shepell, it is easy to recognize how he is one of the single largest contributors to the mental health movement, and our Societal recognition of the vital importance in addressing health care standards through large scale service provisions, At this time of his expressed despair and request for support, we simply cannot turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to his cries for help. Not only does he deserve better than to be lost and forgotten to fade away, WE can do better than this by stepping up to the plate and asking ourselves, what can we possibly offer to this man to support him and the love and kindness he has generated over the past decades? This man now needs our compassion in return – it begs the question, “Is There Enough Compassion Left to Go Around?“
So, I am asking for each and everyone of you reading this article for your support and active engagement in an effort to give back, pay-it-forward, and show the compassion and humility that this man deserves for his unwavering and unquestionable contributions made to all our lives, even if we don’t formally realize, recognize or value it with the same degree of emphasis and importance.
In the coming days and weeks, you will see and hear a number of opportunities to directly assist and support this man of great honour, integrity, decency and humility in his time of greatest need. Additionally, numerous media outlets across this great Country of Canada will be contacted and asked to do their “part” as well in formally recognizing and advocating on behalf of this honourable man. Behind the scenes, a number of us will be advocating for local service agencies in Dr. Shepell’s local Community to step forward and provide him the sustenance of life and financial resources needed for him to stay afloat.
At a time when so many are truly suffering, due the conditions directly created by the covid-19 pandemic, some may ask what makes Dr. Shepell more important than the countless thousands of others now suffering? The answer however, is simply this… it needs to start somewhere, some place and sometime. “IT” representing our diligent and determined spirits, will, and respectful unwillingness to sit by idle while people, anyone, anywhere, suffers in silence. And, if you truly wish to help on a much larger scale and with far greater reaching benefits within a Global context, no worries, check out this website page for additional information – at: https://www.impressions-counselling.org/connectme-associates and become an active member today.
TODAY is the day that we demand OUR integrity back and fight to help one of our own – a man who has devoted his entire life to the general well-being and mental health of all Canadians. So I ask again, “Will YOU Make a Difference in the Life of One Man?”
Here’s what you can do right now:
1. Give your expressions of hope, promise and compassion to Dr. Shepell by directly writing to him and sharing your personal gratitude and well wishes to him during these most debilitating and dehumanizing times. A private e-mail has been established at: ShepellTribute@gmail.com.
2. Spread the word – through social media you are personally engaged in and let others know of our plight in assisting and supporting Dr. Shepell.
3. Visit the newly-created webpage on Linkedin, entitled “ShepellTribute” for on-going news, updates, follow-ups and instructions on where and how you can contribute personally and directly to our efforts, on behalf of Dr. Shepell.
4. Contact your local Community media outlet as well as your Community MP and MPP and request their direct assistance and support in taking up this goal for the benefit of Dr. Shepell and his current conditions of living.
5. Sponsor Dr. Shepell through an upcoming TRUST FUND to be created for which he can safely manage his day to day financial and daily living accountabilities.
6. Please advise us directly and immediately at our corporate office at IMPRESSIONS by e-mailing us with any and all possible resources of any kind or Angel Associates who you are personally knowledgeable of and share their information and contact information with us at email@example.com.
7. JOIN our small TEAM of behind-the-scenes volunteers who are attempting to engage supports for Dr. Shepell in the immediate and within his own local Community.
8. On a Global scale, check out our web page for a new initiative now underway at https://www.impressions-counselling.org/connectme-associates and become an active member today.
9. Please share this article with your friends, family and colleagues and visit our Facebook page to learn of new updates and information in achieving this most worth goal of humanity and decency at: https://www.facebook.com/connect2mentalhealthprofessionals/.
The cold harsh reality is that it will take many of us, in a coordinated effort, to make a difference but a difference that means literally life and death of an individual who needs our help.
here will not be a next time. In fact, there will never be a more pertinent time in this man’s life whereby your compassion, fortitude and determination will make such a huge and meaningful difference in his life. Please consider your involvement and active engagement TODAY and let’s demonstrate to others our personal knowledge that human compassion and decency is not lost and forgotten. It lives in all of us and TODAY we claim our integrity and humanity back and encourage others everywhere to do the same to help one man. From there, imagine what we can truly accomplish!
At this time of immeasurable suffering in Canada, especially in light of the covid-19 pandemic, it is time we take back what is rightfully ours – our Communities, our heritage of giving to others, and our desire to make a positive and vital contribution to our way of life as Canadian citizens.
We will not accept negativity or posted comments that reflect the coldness which has gripped our Society and such posts will be promptly deleted and those posters extracted and rejected from our ranks. At the end of the day folks, you are either on-board and want to do this for your own personal convictions and beliefs or you don’t – we neither pass judgement or make assumptions either way! We simply wish to create an environment and overall attitude that we can all indeed make a difference in one man’s life and work towards restoring our most valued commodity – Our Canadian Pride!
Hope to see you all soon and thank you kindly for your time and consideration.
CEO/Mental Health Therapist
ConnectME Associates Inc. (CMAI)
IMPRESSIONS Family Counselling Services Inc. (IFCS)
Our Contact Information:
Toll-Free Phone: (866) 708-3501
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (SUBJECT: Making A Difference)