Tuesday, 19 May 2015

CIBC Mindstrong Fitness Event to benefit youth mental health at JGH

The Jewish General Hospital Foundation has always been a powerhouse when it comes to fundraising, primarily because its members constantly think outside of the box. A case in point is the upcoming CIBC Mindstrong Fitness Event, set to take place on Sunday, June 7 at Midtown Le Sporting Club Sanctuaire in Outremont. This event will benefit the youth mental health program lead by Dr. Karl Looper, Chief of the Psychiatry Department at the JGH.

Jodi Mintz

This all day fitness event will include training, spinning and  yoga led by Midtown's top professional trainers, capped with lunch, snacks and entertainment. “We are very excited and grateful that Midtown Le Sporting Club du Sanctuaire is covering all costs of this event which means that almost 100 percent of the money raised will be allocated to the cause,” states  Mary Etzitian, coordinator or third party events for the Foundation.

Tony Marinaro, the charismatic mid-day host of TSN 690, has agreed to serve as the event’s honourary chair. Jodi Mintz and Stacey Herman Serero are the actual co-chairs. Together Their goal is to attract 300 participants who will raise $500 or more each and attend the fitness event.  
Marinaro and Stacey Herman Serero

"This event will be epic!" promises Stacey.

As a result of this event, Foundation officials  note that the Department of Psychiatry  will be extending its program to include youth between the ages of 22 to 25. It currently caters to those aged 15 to 21. 

Committee member Elana Fogel has written a superb blog about her personal experience with depression. You can read it all here.

For Elana, it was post-partem depression and she opens up as follows: "Bouncing baby boy, husband, career, fabulous friends, devoted volunteer, and postpartum depression. You read that correctly, postpartum depression. I was scared, ashamed, and alone. I didn’t want my friends to judge or label me as weak. was in denial for months as I tried to make sense of my illness. I had ruminating thoughts. Should I have educated myself more on motherhood while I was journalizing each moment of my 'perfect pregnancy?' Should I have spent more time understanding how my life would change after I gave birth? The truth is that it didn’t matter. I was determined to be well again. To be the fun, wacky, benevolent, passionate, ambitious person who I once was." 
Elana Fogel

Elana says there were times when she felt others did consider what she was going through to be a real illness and that she could easily "snap out of it."

Over time, Elana says, "I learned that cycling, consistent therapy, and seizing opportunities to give back to the community is what makes me tick. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise show that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help ease anxiety and improve mood. Experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins.  Exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from reoccurring once you’re feeling better. This is why I have made the decision to be an active participant, ambassador and fundraiser for the  CIBC Mindstrong event."

Proceeds from the event will empower the JGH Department of Psychiatry to expand its services for youth with mental health issues, notably in the following areas: Specific help for youth with autistic spectrum disorder who are transitioning from childhood to adolescence and adulthood; the innovative use of social media in order to reach out to and aid youth who are reluctant to engage in treatment, attend school or work and participate in a social life outside of their homes; interventions for youth who are dealing with substance abuse, aggression, and unlawful behaviours; services to ease the transition from youth to adult psychiatric care; and couple and family therapy to strengthen the family environment for youth in need.

The Department of Psychiatry of the Jewish General Hospital currently serves a territory that includes 220,000 people, treating patients from childhood to old age. Approximately two-thirds of mental illnesses begin between the ages  of 15 and 25. The department’s Youth Service is expanding to serve this age range, which covers several critical developmental transitions as well as the onset of illnesses, such as psychoses, depressive, personality and anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders and sexual orientation conflicts. The transition from childhood to independent adulthood involves establishing healthy life roles at school and work, developing family and interpersonal relationships, as well as taking part in the community. This life transition can be stressful for many youth, which is why interventions during this critical period can make an enormous difference. 

Currently, the Youth Service engages three part-time psychiatrists, a half-time psychologist, two part-time therapists, as well as psychology interns. The service offers individual and family assessments for patients who are referred from first line services. Treatments include individual, family psychotherapy, as well as psychopharmacology. There is always a waiting list for assessment and treatment. Additional resources are urgently needed to fill the gaps in the range of services for this highly vulnerable population, which the department is presently unable to offer due to lack of funding. 

For more information go to  www.jghmindstrong.org, log on to their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JGHMINDSTRONG. Info: 514-340-8222 ext. 3986.   Organizers are still looking for participants and sponsors.