Can you imagine feeling so sad, afraid, alone or without hope that each day is full of physical pain and mental anguish? What would this do to your work and family life? How would your life be affected by the fear of stigma and the sense of helplessness? One in five Canadians personally experiences a mental health disorder, while millions more are touched by mental illness through a co-worker, friend or family member.
The vast majority of mental health conditions begin before age 25; yet, ironically, this age group experiences the greatest gap in mental health services. Early intervention for a mental health disorder is incredibly important because it means the individual receives care before their symptoms irreparably disrupt their life or hospitalization is required. Our Hospital will introduce new programs and augment existing ones designed to intervene at the earliest signs of mental health difficulties.
This will include:
Treating something as complex as the human mind requires careful research and sensitivity to each person’s unique needs. Fortunately, mental health care has come a long way in recent years with more research being applied to new and innovative ways of treating mental illness in a respectful way.
For example, schizophrenia was not long ago described as premature dementia because of the seemingly progressive tissue deterioration in the brain. But there is new hope in battling this frightening disease. Through studying imaging data, Dr. Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, Medical Director at PEPP, and his colleagues discovered that brains of patients with schizophrenia have the capacity to reorganize and fight the illness.
With further research, these findings could point to the development of targeted treatments that will improve the outcomes of patients with schizophrenia.
There are countless other areas of mental health care research that require funding in order to flourish. Donor funding often provides the initial seed money to get a project off the ground before securing larger grants from external sources. This is known as a catalyst grant and has proven to be highly successful for researchers at LHSC.
Philanthropic support will enable LHSC to enhance access to care and strengthen the continuity of care for patients with mental health disorders in London and Southwestern Ontario.