Giving Back and Supporting Mental Health
This time of the year can be a challenge for many, the holidays aren't always easy and we know from our own experiences how the pressures of the season can really take a toll on us. There is also this big buildup of excitement and hustle and bustle for a few weeks and then when the ball has dropped and confetti is being swept away, we’re left with the reality of a dark, cold and long winter. Unless you’re my daughter who looks forward to winter all year long. We also know that these past 2 years haven’t been the easiest, probably some of the hardest times for many.
For Eunmi and I, we know we were fortunate enough to have the choice to keep our children at home during the height of the pandemic and allow them to go to school virtually. However, that also meant our lives had to completely change, yet again. Trying to find that balance for ourselves and our families has been really hard. We want what’s best for our families but we’re only human and can only do so much. We also saw first hand what the effects the pandemic had on our children’s mental health during lockdown and virtual school. They missed social interaction as much as we did. The pressure and anxiety at times was really too much, thankfully we had each other to lean on and counsellors to reach out to.
This Giving Tuesday, we wanted to give back to our community and focus on the importance of mental health, $30 of the proceeds from each Giving Gift Set will be donated to The Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation in support of the Children & Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital. In support of addressing the mental health crisis in York Region through its dedication to delivering evidence-based therapy and innovative services and offering a counter narrative to stigma through educational events and community-based initiatives and care. We want the youth in our community who are struggling to know that there is help out there and someone is always willing to listen. We know what it feels like when all the pressures of life are weighing you down, having someone to talk to where you feel safe to express how you feel makes a world of difference. Learn more about the Children & Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital and their initiatives by scrolling down to the bottom of this post.
Benefits of Meditation
We often don’t have time to focus on our own mental health and so we have curated our Giving Gift Sets to make that the focus through meditation. Practicing meditation helps you improve your mental health through finding a sense of calm, balance and clarity which can also help improve your overall physical health as well. If you choose to practice meditation in the morning, these effects can carry through with you for the rest of the day. If you prefer to practice meditation in the evening, then it can help you let go of the stress from the day and improve the quality of your sleep. Imagine if you took out 10 mins each day to practice meditation in the morning and evenings, how that could help improve the quality of your life. I know for one, I could definitely use more calm, balance and clarity each day.
What’s in each of the Giving Gift Sets
In each Giving Gift Set we have 12 Canadian beeswax gala candles from Honey Candles and a candle holder specially made for our gala and birthday beeswax candles with a matching match striker from Canadian and female ceramicist SKIM Ceramics.
There are 2 different Giving Gift Sets to choose from:
- Natural - This set comes with natural coloured beeswax gala candles and the candle holder is bowl style.
- Pastel - This set comes with assorted pastel coloured beeswax gala candles in pearl, pink, teal and purple and the candle holder is flat edge style.
- Each set comes packaged in a sustainable cotton gift bag.
Benefits of Beeswax Candles
Beeswax candles when burned are natural air purifiers, they remove odor, dust and other toxins found in our air. Our beeswax candles are 100% pure beeswax and are friendly to the environment and your health with no carcinogens or hazardous ingredients. You can feel safe burning these beeswax candles.
How to use the Giving Gift Set
- Find a quiet spot where you won’t be distracted.
- Take a gala candle and place it into the holder and put them on a sturdy surface at eye level and away from anything flammable or drafty areas.
- Take a strike-anywhere match from your match striker. Strike the match on the outside of the match striker on the raw surface to ignite the match. Light the candle and blow out your match. Be sure to never leave your lit candle unattended.
- To practice your meditation, softly gaze at the lit candle. Watching the flame of the candle helps distract your mind, helping you focus and create calmness. Start with 5 minute sessions and slowly work your way to longer sessions as you improve your focus. Each gala candle can burn up to 45mins.
- When you finish your meditation session, thank yourself for allowing this time to focus on your own wellbeing.
- Display your candle and candle holder in a place that’s visible so that it creates a gentle daily reminder whenever you see it to allow this time for yourself, to nourish your mind, body and soul.
The Giving Gift Set is now available for purchase, choose from the natural set or the pastel set. Every dollar we raise from the sales of the Giving Gift Sets we will match with our own donation. We believe in everyone of all ages having access to mental health services and are so grateful for your support. Wishing you all more positivity in your lives!
*Please note that we are not medical professionals and what we’ve written here are gathered from personal recommendations. Should you require medical advice, please seek it from a medical professional.
CHILD & ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE AT Markham Stouffville Hospital
Due to a combination of socio-economic factors in York Region – one of Canada’s most diverse and fastest growing regions – our community is at increased risk for anxiety, depression, addictions and suicide. Demand for mental health programs and services continues to rise at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), growing by 12-16 per cent every year. Our Outpatient Mental Health Services recently experienced its busiest year ever with 37,258 visits, including almost 8,400 child and adolescent visits, confirming the need for mental health services for all ages in our community.
On average, 70% of mental illnesses have their onset during adolescence, while only 20% of teens with mental health struggles receive treatment. And according to findings from an ongoing COVID-19 mental health study from researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children, more than half of children aged eight to 12 reported clinically significant depressive symptoms during the second wave of the pandemic. That number jumps to 70 per cent among adolescents surveyed.
MSH is addressing the mental health crisis in York Region through its dedication to delivering evidence-based therapy and innovative services and by offering a counter narrative to stigma through educational events and community-based initiatives and care. Thanks to incredible community support, we continue to be leaders at protecting against stigma, and ensure that everyone in our community who is facing challenges with their mental health can get the care they need, close to home. At MSH, mental health treatment is front and centre.
For teens there’s an Adolescent Depression Group for youth struggling with depression or bipolar disorder. The Adolescent Treatment and Learning Alternate Service (ATLAS) program is for teens aged 12-18 who have significant difficulty attending or succeeding at school due to anxiety and/or depression. Worry Busters is a group therapy program for children aged 9-12 struggling with anxiety. And for youth aged 18-26 there is a Transitional Age Youth (TAY) program that couples coping strategies with life skills to address the unique needs of this group transitioning between adolescence and adulthood.
Community support enables the expansion and enhancement of our outpatient child and adolescent mental health programs to help reduce wait times, ensure more youth can access more timely care, and improve the quality of life for our community’s children, adolescents and families. Your generous support will help ensure that everyone, especially the youth in our increasingly diverse community who face unique obstacles on the path to mental health wellness can find the opportunity for a better future at MSH.
For more information about the programs offered by the Children & Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital, visit their site here.