Tag Archives: mental health

CAMH Receives $100 Million Anonymous Donation

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In case you’re like me and generally pretty cynical about the intentions of most people, we are both wrong on this day. Oh, so very, very wrong.

An anonymous donor has just done something staggering – He/She/They has just donated $100 million to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s leading treatment and research centre for mental health and addiction.

And they don’t want to be named! Who the what the saints and angels!

Per the article in the Toronto Star, “A donor is giving a record $100 million to CAMH — and doesn’t want to be named“:

The donation was given to support research into mental illnesses, which affect some 6.7 million Canadians and are the leading cause of disability on earth.

The donation…will support the recruitment and retention of top scientists and encourage them to take chances with their research.

“In order to enable quantum leaps forward, this gift will also support high-risk, high-reward research,” the donor said.

Miracles really do happen and there are such things as real-life saints.



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The CAMH One Brave Night Challenge

Image result for one brave nightIn the wake of Bell’s successful Let’s Talk campaign, and in support of the good folks at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – the leading institute of its kind in Canada – my book club is taking part in the CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ challenge, which  just launched its 2017 campaign and runs through to Friday, April 7, 2017, in an effort to “defeat mental illness.”

Per the website:

CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to share one night to inspire hope for the one in five Canadians living with mental illness in any given year.

You can participate as an individual or, like me and my Curling Was Full book club, as a team.

Check out the above link to get more details, but every dollar counts and CAMH really is doing great things for the 20% of us Great White Northerners who is/will experience mental health issues in their lifetime.

As a related aside, peruse this article on addiction and the fallacy of willpower, entitled “How To Overcome Addiction And Make Lasting Changes In Your Life,” by Benjamin P. Hardy. If you think “addiction” is strictly limited to alcohol and drugs, you’re sorely mistaken and could benefit from this thought-provoking piece.

Otherwise, I hope you take a moment to consider if you, your friends/colleagues/co-workers, and your family can contribute to a genuinely worthy cause through CAMH.

All the best in staying up as late as you can in helping make a difference to so many men, women and children out there among us.

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Mental Health and the Success of Let’s Talk

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Just over one week ago, Bell Media continued with its multi-year initiative called Let’s Talk in support of mental health. In 2017, the campaign – which now stretches across the CTV network and the entire Bell network, as well as social media sites – raised more than $6.5 million. Now in its 8th year, the campaign has raised a total of $79,919,178.55 for mental health. As a result, “institutions and organizations large and small in every region received new funding for access, care and research.” The aim is to reach $100 million by 2020. Something tells me they’re going to crush that goal.

More importantly, just as the program name indicates, people are finally talking about the issue. The purpose of talking about mental health and depression in public and with the public is to reduce/remove the stigma attached to these subjects. Although Bell leaves much to be desired when it comes to telecommunications technical support(cough, cough), I have nothing but the utmost respect for what they started in 2010 with the Let’s Talk program, and to Clara Hughes for having the strength to be the national spokesperson. For that, if nothing else, Bell Media is to be lauded and applauded.

On a related note, I recently came across a site called Natalie’s Lovely Blog, which is run by a very brave and well-spoken 19-year-old named Natalie Breuer. She writes about a number of subjects, but it was the one entitled “On Depression” that caught my eye.

While I support the Let’s Talk initiative 100%, it’s important that we don’t address mental health for just one day out of the year and then forget about it until next January. For many people, it’s a crushing condition that spans every minute of every day – 365 days a year. If you want to help, reach out, donate or merely learn more, I can think of no better place to start than the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), an institute with a mandate and access to resources like no other I know of in Canada.

As Barbara Kingsolver, the acclaimed author of The Poisonwood Bible, wrote in The Bean Trees:

“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold – with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”  

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It’s All in Your Head

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Talk about taking Edvard Munch’s The Scream to the next level!

Jowita Bydlowska, author of the controversial memoir Drunk Mom, posted a thought-provoking (if you’re not an artist) and thoroughly frightening (if you are an artist) piece on the correlation between mental health/addiction/suicide and the artistic process on alllitup.ca called “So you’re an artist? Help is on the way!

Congrats to Jowita for the buzz she’s created with the recent release of her first novel, Guy, which The Globe and Mail recently reviewed and said is not only “fascinating and disturbing,” but “a timely study into…[a] toxic and predatory masculinity.”

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World Mental Health Day

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In support of #WorldMentalHealthDay, which falls today, October 10, I’d like to point out a few things.

1) It’s encouraging to see countries finally starting to realize that mental health is not a stigma, but a bona fide disease. In Canada, for example, 20% of us Canucks will experience some form of mental illness in our lifetime.

2) Kudos to Bell Canada through its Let’s Talk campaign, and its spokesperson, Olympic champion Clara Hughes, for making this a subject of national conversation here North of 49. Since its launch in 2010, the initiative has raised more than $50 million, and plans to raise at least $100 million for mental health-related projects by 2020

3) Here in Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is playing a hugely positive role in addressing this issue and subsequently treating the disease to the best of its ability. Of course, places such as CAMH could always use more funding – especially private donations – but despite  allegations from someone south of the border whose skin tone matches his man rug, Canada’s healthcare system (and by extension its mental healthcare system) is not “catastrophic,” nor do we head en masse to the U.S. for medical treatment annually. (In a comprehensive study of 18,000 men and women that was published in the journal Health Affairs, 0.005% of Canadians received medical care in the U.S. based on a recommendation from their doctor, while a mere 0.001% did so of their own volition.)

4) There are a million and one scholarly books on the subject of mental health, yet there are also a number of down-to-earth fiction/non-fiction works on the subject, too. Goodreads.com has a pretty long list of books shelved as mental-health, with some of the top-rated ones (in alphabetical order by title) being the following: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks, Impulse (Impulse #1) by Ellen Hopkins, Equating the Equations of Insanity: A Journey from Grief to Victory by Durgesh Satpathy, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

(P.S. Many of these same writers are what are known as “Goodreads Authors,” meaning they often hold chat sessions with readers in real-time through goodreads.com, and sometimes even take personal emails to talk about their work(s).)


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The Importance of Mental Health for Freelancers and Artists

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Although the title of this piece is “Entrepreneurship and Your Mental Health,” it could just as easily be applied to artists and professional freelancers. Joshua Davidson has written an excellent piece on the importance of mental health for those of us who spend many hours working alone and/or making all the tough decisions unilaterally.

If you’re thinking of going off on your own or starting your own enterprise, the words “complacency” and “procrastination” have to be eliminated from your vocabulary. If self-motivation and a drive to succeed despite the inevitable hardships you will face are not part of your nomenclature, perhaps this is not the right road for you.

More specifically, as Davidson points out, you will undoubtedly face some sense of depression or loneliness along the way. As he puts it:

You see, the reason that I am writing this particular blog post is because some of the most talented, successful and driven entrepreneurs I have ever met are, most often, the most depressed.

They lack the feeling of fulfillment. They feel isolated. They’re stuck in a mental corner, so to speak.

From an outsider’s perspective, that might seem a bit crazy. How can someone who has created their own destiny, been accomplished and driven success, feel this way?

But it’s not all doom and gloom, nor is it all sunshine and rainbows. The grass, as they say, is always filled with more chlorophyll on the other side. Self-fulfillment and stability are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but more often than not they tend to be in the real world.

Ultimately, however, Davidson makes a good point in highlighting the importance of mental health, especially if you’re going it alone. As he puts it, there’s no shame in talking to someone, even a therapist, about the challenges you face professionally. After all, without a strong, sound mind, how effective/productive can you really be?

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