TORONTO, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - A campaign to help psychiatric patients over the holidays got a big boost this weekend with a mention in a Huffington Post column on great gift-giving ideas.
HuffPost columnist Julia Moulden, author of The New Radicals, puts together an annual list of gifts to "stir the hearts, minds, and souls of the ones you love" - and this year she included CAMH Foundation's Gifts of Light campaign to engage the city in donating gifts to 1,000 patients in treatment over the holidays.
"My head hurts just thinking about the number of people in treatment who don't get visits - or gifts - at this time of year," says Moulden, whose work explores the ways people can make a difference. Her new book, RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50, is due out in January. "I'm thrilled to learn that there's a practical way we can help."
Now in its third year, Gifts of Light was launched by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation to encourage the public to send practical and meaningful gifts to patients during the holidays. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction, many patients receive few visits, cards or gifts from their loved ones, which makes the holidays especially difficult and isolating.
And with the holiday season now in full swing, Torontonians are responding generously.
Last year, 600 Gifts of Light were distributed to every CAMH inpatient. This year's campaign has been expanded to include some patients undergoing outpatient treatment and more than $65,000 has been raised with a month remaining before the December 31 deadline.
"Everyone has the power to make a positive difference in someone else's life. Sending a Gift of Light is about telling a CAMH patient that you're thinking about them this holiday and that you're supporting them on their road to recovery," said Valerie Pringle, broadcaster and Gifts of Light ambassador.
Nancy Lockhart, Chief Administrative Officer with The Frum Development Group and a member of the CAMH Foundation Board of Directors, understands the devastating impact of losing a loved one due to mental illness:
"Mental illness and addiction has no boundaries. It can affect anyone and at any point in a person's lifetime. Through programs like Gifts of Light, we can encourage frank and open discussions about mental illness and addiction and the importance of supporting individuals during a very difficult period in their lives," said Lockhart, who made a generous donation towards this year's campaign.
Among the items - priced from $10 upward - in this year's Gifts of Light catalogue:
- Cozy and warm pyjamas and robes for inpatients
- Educational grants to support a patient's educational pursuits
- Healthy breakfasts for patients receiving outpatient treatments
- Family supports (e.g. public transit fare, child care) to enable family members to participate in treatment.
Every donor who purchases a Gift of Light item before December 10 receives a special card to send to their loved one, explaining how their gift has made a meaningful difference to a CAMH patient. The deadline to purchase a Gift of Light is December 31, 2010.
For further information: For further information:
Take 60 seconds and check out our clever, staff-made "Gifts Don't Give Themselves" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXwLMD9YZRs
To purchase a Gift of Light, visit www.camhgiftsoflight.ca
To arrange an interview, call Meghann Comerford at: (416) 535-8501 ext. 4395