When you donate to this year’s Federated Health Charities campaign, launching April 1, more dollars will go toward a mental health organization focused on supporting caregivers.
At 12, Chelsea Meldrum was diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder. Her family worked to create a circle of care around her, which included the Institute for Advancements in Mental Health (IAM). Through the support of IAM, Chelsea was able to better understand her diagnosis and become more confident. She spoke out against the stigma surrounding mental illness and did not let her diagnosis define her. IAM awarded Chelsea with a post-secondary education scholarship to further her success – and with the organization’s support and encouragement, Chelsea grew to be a successful and respected adult, receiving numerous community accolades and awards.
Today, the 26-year-old university student is a volunteer with IAM, where she helps spread awareness about mental illness, assists caregivers of those who are newly diagnosed, and works to ensure that those living with mental illness receive the same level of support she did.
“I feel we can stop the stigma of mental illness in society as long as there are people like me who are willing to speak their mind on the topic,” Chelsea says. “I am not ashamed to talk about my mental illness and will continue to educate and assist others to understand that having mental health issues is not a flaw in their personality, but just a flaw in chemistry.”
IAM is a member of the OPS Federated Health Charities – and our donations to the 2021 campaign will help IAM expand their support for families and friends caring for a loved one just like Chelsea who is experiencing mental health challenges. The campaign launches on April 1 and with the pandemic, these resources are needed more than ever.
“IAM is one of 21-member health charities that benefit from the generous donations of OPSers,” says Steven Davidson, Secretary of the Cabinet. “Throughout the pandemic these charities have been working incredibly hard to help their clients stay safe and mentally well.”
“Every dollar contributed makes a difference to the individuals and families that the Federated Health Charities support and I’m proud to see the launch of the 38th annual campaign that continues to have an impact on so many lives.”
AIM was formerly the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. It expanded into IAM in direct response to the need for increased mental health services in our communities. Sarah Wood, Executive Director of Federated Health Charities, says the campaign has raised funds for this charity for 15 years and is proud to be a supporter of AIM’s much needed Sharing Care initiative.
“Employees across the OPS have been asking for a way to support the broader mental health sector for years,” said Wood. “We heard that request and are pleased to now be able to offer that option.”
When you donate to the OPS Federated Health campaign this year, more dollars will go to a more comprehensive mental health organization.
Federated Health continues to respond to OPS employees’ requests and suggestions to better serve our communities. Last year they welcomed the three most highly requested charities to the campaign: MS Society of Canada, Autism Ontario and Parkinson Canada. This year, as part of their commitment to fight systemic racism and health inequity, they welcomed their 21st charity to their roster: the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario. When the Federated Health campaign kicks off on April 1, you can make donations in WIN. Find out more about how you can get involved in the campaign on the Federated Health website.