Anyone Can Experience a Mental Health Crisis
Richard had struggled with short spurts of depression throughout his life, but he knew this time was different. When he started taking a new drug prescribed for cancer treatment, Richard suddenly found himself in a very dark place. His mental health crumbled, and he spiraled into a black hole of paranoia, depression, and self-isolation. He felt broken inside, and his wife told him she no longer recognized him.
One day, he suffered a breakdown and needed immediate help. His wife called an ambulance, and he was rushed to the Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency at North York General Hospital.
Richard was immediately admitted to the Adult Mental Health Unit, where our team of experts cared for him in the midst of the most severe mental health struggle of his life. After two weeks as an inpatient, he graduated to the outpatient program and returned home to his wife.
Richard believes the expert care he received in the Adult Mental Health Unit “truly worked miracles” for him – he doesn’t know where he would be without their efforts. Where there was once only darkness, he says, his life is now filled with colour and possibilities.
It took courage for Richard and his family to seek help and begin his healing journey – which is why it is so important that we provide our patients with a safe and supportive space for healing. Patients who have a supportive environment throughout their treatment, from the moment they walk through our door to the day they return home, are more likely to continue their recovery.
Your environment contributes so much to your healing journey.”
Clinical Director, Mental Health Programs
More Patients Are Relying On NYGH For Mental Health Care
Richard’s story is increasingly common. At some point in their life, one in three Canadians will experience the darkness, loneliness, and despair of a mental illness. Without a safe place to seek help, an adult in the throes of a mental health crisis can spiral into self-harm, violence, crime, homelessness, and even suicide. It’s not difficult to see how one person’s crisis can tear apart families and communities.
Adult mental health care is a priority at North York General – indeed, we have seen the demand for mental health care in our Emergency Department (ED) increase by 20% since 2020. We know that the highest need for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis is to feel physically and emotionally safe.
To alleviate some of the pressure on the ED and provide a safer, more dignified place to treat the increasing volume of patients coming to North York General from community referrals, we are carving out space to create 3 additional beds in our Adult Mental Health Unit (24 to 26 in acute care and 5 to 6 beds in our Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) and will bring a number of essential cosmetic and functional upgrades to this space, which was last upgraded in 2007.
North York General is an important hub for adult mental health, connecting thousands of patients each year with several partner organizations.
Creating a Supportive Environment for Healing
The Adult Mental Health Unit is a critical intervention space for patients during the worst part of their mental health crisis. Nearly one-third of patients in the Adult Mental Health Unit are admitted via the Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency.
As patients are moved from the ED to the Adult Mental Health Unit, it is imperative that they experience a feeling of safety, security, comfort, and privacy.
Imagine a warm, refreshed welcome area that features soft colours, subdued lighting, and comfortable furniture. Updated wayfinding and signage makes it easy for patients, guests, and visitors to find one another. Families and patients come together for self-serve meals in an updated Dining and Activity Room, which is equipped with new cabinets, flooring, and appliances.
The new space will take design elements from our newly renovated youth mental health area. Brightening existing spaces will create a positive environment that encourages social activities. Fresh paint, subdued lighting and comfortable furniture will make the inpatient rooms more welcoming.
Imagine inpatient rooms that are fitted with modern details designed to keep patients safe. Windows are coated with a clear film that makes them virtually unbreakable. Window coverings are housed between double-paned windows. Any handles in the room are flush against the wall, and the sprinklers in the ceiling are of a special design. Each of these details is thoughtful and compliant with current mental health safety standards to protect patients against self-harm.
Imagine halls, offices, and common areas with upgraded HVAC and lighting systems that provide a healthier, safer place to heal and to work. New fire alarms and smoke detectors offer an extra feeling of security for everyone. And a modern call system throughout the area allows staff to rapidly respond to the urgent needs of their patients.
Imagine this safe and secure place to heal. We know that if patients like Richard have a positive experience throughout their treatment, they are more likely to continue their recovery, and possibly avoid another crisis. Their success hinges not only on the quality of care they receive, but also the environment in which they begin their healing journey.
Research shows that lighting, furniture, colours, and other cosmetic touches make a measurable difference to a patient’s recovery.
Funded by Donors Who Understand The Importance of Mental Health Care
The Covid-19 pandemic brought home – quite literally – the fragility of our mental health, affecting nearly every household in Canada in some way. This moment has provided the impetus to prioritize expansion and essential upgrades to the Adult Mental Health area.
We are seeking to raise a total of $1.4 million in donor support for this much-needed project. This investment from our community of supporters will help us deliver essential safety and cosmetic upgrades to the psychiatric intensive care and acute care spaces in the Adult Mental Health area. It will also include adding three new inpatient beds to help more patients amidst growing demand for mental health care.
Your generous gift will help us transform our Adult Mental Health Unit area into a warm and supportive space for those seeking or continuing treatment.