RBC Foundation Gives $25,000 to Support Youth Mental Health

October 05, 2011
Staff from Ontario Shores Foundation and RBC with a big cheque
Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health (Ontario Shores Foundation) is pleased to announce a generous donation of $25,000 from RBC Foundation. This gift will help support youth mental health promotion and stigma reduction through the Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) Program, across Durham Region.

“From the beginning, RBC has been an enthusiastic advocate and visible contributor to youth-related mental health initiatives in this community,” says Travis Capes, Regional Vice President, Durham, RBC. “However it is the shared responsibility of everyone in this community to invest in a child’s well-being so they can achieve their true potential later in life. RBC is making this gift because we believe what the Ontario Shores Foundation stands for is important to us and this community.”

The TAMI Coalition of Durham was created in 2002 by Ontario Shores, community agencies, school boards, youth, individuals with mental illness and other community members.  The TAMI Program provides youth with the opportunity to have education sessions that are incorporated into their school programs and hear the personal stories of individuals who have been affected by mental illness. 

The classroom education program includes five days of in-class sessions, a staff workshop and school assembly.  Participants have a series of presentations from youth living with mental illness.  Students, administrators, teachers, social workers and guidance counsellors all participate in the education.

The TAMI Program also organizes Stomp Out Stigma Summits, a day-long gathering of student ambassadors who are taught about mental illness through a series of presentations by professionals and individuals with lived mental health experience.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Canada for individuals aged 10 to 34 and 90% of those who take their own lives have diagnosable mental illnesses. Identifying and treating mental illness early leads to better outcomes – immediately and into adulthood,”  says Jennifer Clark, Executive Director, Ontario Shores Foundation. “Initiatives like the TAMI Program are a wonderful way to reach individuals early, break down the stigma of mental illness and create an environment so young people feel comfortable coming forward to ask for help.”

To date, The TAMI Coalition of Durham has spoken to more than 5,000 students at 35 high schools across Durham Region.  In 2010-2011, the program has expanded to elementary schools as well.

TAMI has proven to be an effective intervention.  Surveys show that it has increased young peoples’ knowledge of mental illness by 32% and improved attitudes about mental illness by 12%. 

For more information about the TAMI Program, please contact 905-430-4055 ext. 6014.

About Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health:
Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health was established in March 2009 to advance mental health care by raising funds that support innovation, research, education, mental health promotion, awareness and understanding of mental illness and stigma reduction.  Financial support benefits Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and its partners who provide services and support to Ontario Shores’ patients and their families.

About RBC Community Blueprint™
Created to support a broad range of community initiatives, through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities across North America and around the world, RBC Community Blueprint™ has contributed more than $105 million to community causes worldwide through donations of more than $52.6 million, and an additional $52.5 million in sponsorship of community events and national organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Arscott
Associate Director
Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health
905.430.4055 ext. 6027

Christpher De Vito
Communications Director
RBC Bank