The Center: Mental Health Challenges are Something that We Understand
The Center for Respite Care treats individuals who have confronted a myriad of challenges in their lives. While many of those are physical – mental health often is part of the equation. Our medical and social services teams are qualified to work with any individual who is on our unit. This means often “seeing” beyond the obvious and considering the circumstances from which the client came and their prior experiences.
For many years – we have engaged an honorary chair for our annual appeal campaign. For 2022-2023 – our approach will be slightly different – as our focus will be on our clients. More will be announced as we approach the start of the campaign.
However, the honorary chairs have served us well – with our first chair being former University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono. Ono’s life has been one of remarkable education and success as he was most recently named President of the University of Michigan.
Dr. Santa J. Ono
Our clients, our team, and the media saw Ono be a kindred spirit – one who understood challenges that humans confront. During the pandemic – he bravely came forward with his mental health challenges in a piece written for The Vancouver Sun (September 4, 2020.) At that time, he was President of the University of British Columbia.
The following are critical excerpts from this piece.
First and foremost, mental health problems and illness are not uncommon. The Canadian Mental Health Association notes that one in five Canadians will experience mental health problems or illness annually.
I have been very open about my own struggles with mental health issues. I have always said that a big part of the balance I’ve been able to achieve in my life is because my family is there for me.
Our mental health support staff at UBC suggest that, whenever possible, parents model and encourage students who are studying at home to develop a daily routine or structure, one that includes multiple breaks from their screen. If you are able, try to help them maintain a solid foundation of coping skills, including good sleep hygiene, regular meals, and attention to self-care.
Other tips for promoting good mental health include getting regular exercise, keeping lines of communication open between students and their loved ones, finding a private space for quiet study whenever possible, and taking advantage of opportunities to just have fun while following health guidelines.
These tips may sound simple, but I know they can be challenging to follow in some instances. Do what you can when you can.
We believe Dr. Ono’s words to be wise – be it for his student population, or our clients of the public-at-large.
We thank Santa along with the other chairs who have served the Center for Respite Care.