Mindstrong: Pandemic will take a significant toll on mental health for a long time to come – The Suburban Newspaper

Posted By on May 21, 2020

There are a lot of success stories emanating from the Foundation and Auxiliary of the Jewish General Hospital. Indeed count Mindstrong and its fight against mental illness among them. The event has raised over $7 million in the last five years and was slated to take place on June 7 before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted everything. Or did it?

Dr. Karl Looper, who is the Chief of Psychiatry at the JGH, is forecasting a big increase in the number of patients who will be treated by the Department all related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the collateral damage which it has inflicted on society. Our Department staff and doctors are also front-line heroes, but receive very little accolades, says Larry Sidel, executive vice-president of the Foundation. The Department has reserved 25 beds for psychiatric patients from other facilites who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Elizabeth Wiener and Justin Wajcer are the co-chairs of Mindstrong, which has been transformed from a day of exercise into a campaign which will include a virtual after party on June 7.

This year Mindstrong was able to include support for the hospitals programs for patients with Alzheimers and Dementia and also their caregivers. A lot has changed with Mindstrong this year. Two of the initiatives they are funding came about as a result of the pandemic. One is tele-medicine, which is the ability to take care of patients remotely. This project has now been sponsored by Bell. The other is the Tele-Health program for isolated seniors. .

What began as a vision to link physical and mental health, reduce stigma, and promote recovery, is now the leading philanthropic event for mental health in Quebec, says Dr. Looper.

This year COVID-19 has made our challenge far greater. We know that todays crisis will take a significant toll on mental health for a long time to come. The hospital is anticipating a range of psychological reactions, including depression related to isolation and loss of social roles such as employment, and disruption of family life and structure. We need to be prepared.

Lee Haberkorn from Virgin Radio is very open about his connection as an ambassador to Mindstrong and the JGH. Eleven years ago I was in a very dark place and when I needed help the Jewish General Hospital was there for me, he told me. So, literally the least I can do is be a voice for those people still suffering. Eleven years ago I wanted to kill myself and I was scared and felt alone. It was the first time I was able to ask for help and it was at the Jewish General Hospital.

Please stay tuned for my video interview with Dr. Looper, Wiener and Haberkorn on The Suburban Website

COHEN CHATTER: Michelle Toledano is the new Head of School at the Azrieli Schools of United Talmud Torah and Herzliah High, effective July 1. See my SJN column on The Suburban website Dollard des Ormeauxs Paul Zakaib, better known to radio fans as Tasso Patsikakis, wants to get back in the game. For 23 years the Tasso character and Aaron Rand made up one of Montreal radios most popular duos, first on the old CKGM and CFCF Radio 600 and then on the Q92 (now 92.5 The Beat FM) morning show. To say they were funny is an understatement. Zakaib brought with him a cast of zany characters, from Tasso to Jacques Parizeau and Aarons mom. If you were stuck at a red light and saw the person in the car over laughing uproariously then you knew who they were listening to. He is now being represented by Zensa Media International. See my blog for the full story.

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Mindstrong: Pandemic will take a significant toll on mental health for a long time to come - The Suburban Newspaper

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