William Osler Health System has over 800 beds and a health care team of over 4,000 staff, 700 physicians and 1100 volunteers. Osler provides programs and services to 1.3 million area residents in the growing and diverse communities they serve. William Osler Health System has three facilities – Brampton Civic Hospital, Etobicoke General Hospital and Peel Memorial (currently being redeveloped).
Brampton - A new program at Brampton Civic Hospital is aiming to get teens back on their feet. Known as 'Team Unbreakable', this running therapy group reaches out to youth struggling with depression, anxiety and other affective disorders, and provides motivation and encouragement to help overcome personal challenges through goal-setting.
With support from the charity, CameronHelps, Brampton Civic's Team Unbreakable group of eight young people trains twice weekly for eight weeks, in all kinds of weather, with the goal to run a 5 km or 10 km race.
“Physical activity helps to reduce depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, while building self-esteem and developing coping skills,” said Laurence Wolfson, Director, Mental Health and Addiction Services at William Osler Health System. “In therapeutic groups, we teach patients the benefits of healthy recreational activities, so it makes sense to put our advice into practice when and where we can.”
Led by a Recreation Therapist, Psychologist and four staff volunteers, the youth involved learn to set objectives and then achieve them through small steps, including learning to be supportive of fellow runners; the influence of diet on energy; how to pace themselves; and that challenges can be opportunities for new learning. Inspiring weekly guest speakers also share their personal stories and provide support and encouragement to the group.
“Mental health is a core area of focus for our organization, and we are committed to implementing programs that are tailored to the unique needs of our patients,” said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of William Osler Health System. “As one of three hospitals participating in the CameronHelps 'Team Unbreakable' program, we are excited to be on the leading-edge of mental health therapy, and we anticipate great results from this initiative.”
In preparation for their races, the teens run together from the hospital to nearby Professor's Lake, a 32-hectare park with scenic trails.
“No one runs alone, and no one gets left behind,” said John Knox, CameronHelps Program Manager. “Group running gives us an opportunity to connect with each other.”
CameronHelps currently delivers Team Unbreakable programs at various hospitals and community agencies throughout southern Ontario.