This year's provincial Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year award has been presented to Vince Withers, who founded the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador after losing a daughter to anorexia nervosa.

The organization's Newfoundland and Labrador branch held its awards gala in St. John's Thursday night.

In accepting his award, Withers noted a great number of people have to deal with some kind of mental health issue or addiction.

He suggested the province get its priorities straight.

"I think the greatest challenge we have in this province for today, tomorrow and the next decade is not Muskrat Falls," Withers said. "It's mental health and addictions. Twenty per cent of us have at least one mental health and addiction [problem] or will have at least one."

Withers also chairs the province's ministerial advisory council for mental health and addictions. 

Meanwhile, the Young Humanitarian Award went to Jillian Peddle. 

Aged 23, Peddle has already travelled to seven countries, including Haiti and Cambodia, to help poor children.