A well-known Halifax philanthropist surprised members of the IWK Foundation on Monday with an announcement that she would be donating $1 million to the organization.

Marjorie Lindsay made the surprise announcement during the IWK Foundation’s annual general meeting Monday morning.

Lindsay’s contribution will help fund the construction of a new inpatient mental health unit at the IWK Health Centre – a project close to her heart.

“After my daughter had her first child, due to medical and hormonal imbalances, Deborah Ann developed bi-polar,” says the 87-year-old Halifax woman.

Lindsay says it took a long time for her daughter to be diagnosed, which influenced her decision to donate.

The new mental health unit is due to open early in 2014.

“A lot of state-of-the-art areas for them to gather, for patients to gather with their families, there’s even fireplaces,” says Jennifer Gillivan, president and CEO of the IWK Foundation. “It’s a beautiful new unit and it will really help heal.”

Student Jacob Hamilton says he understands the importance of proper care, after battling with mental health for two years.

“Go talk to someone. The resources as there,” says the 18-year-old. “You just need to take advantage of them and that’s something that youth need to start doing.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau