Institute for Advancements in Mental Health (IAM)

Check out this video from our respected charity the Institute for Advancements in Mental Health.

Click to see video transcript

Mary Alberti:
Schizophrenia is chronic mental illness. It often presents itself with something we call psychosis, which looks like people who may have hallucinations or delusions, their thinking is a little bit disorganised.

Clayo L:
She had been exhibiting symptoms for a long time, but she didn’t have her first episode until I was nineteen years old. It was a very life-changing experience for me, so now it’s been about eight, seven years I’ve been a caregiver and I’ve learned a lot.

Mary Alberti:
It really has an impact on individuals, because it may just stop you right in your tracks at the prime of your life.

Clayo L:
If you have cancer or diabetes, you usually get treatment probably right away, because you realise something is wrong. But for someone with psychosis, they don’t think anything is wrong and they think their delusions and hallucinations are very real

Usually it takes up to a year or two until they get treatment, and by that time the delusions have had a really significant impact.

Mary Alberti:
We also work with a lot of families, because in the area of work that we do, families are one of the biggest support systems for people who live with chronic mental illness.

Clayo L:
This organisation has really helped grow my caregiving role, and to make me understand more what I can and what I can’t do. But I think most importantly, the SSO has taught me boundaries, because you can’t be a hero, you also have to give yourself self-care, right.

Mary Alberti:
Often times people don’t understand what schizophrenia or psychosis is, they don’t know how to deal with it. Often times people are really scared. But what we know about it is that if we have the right programs and services for people, and that people can really be on the road to being well and participating again in life.

Clayo L:
If it wasn’t for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, I really don’t know where I would have turned, to be honest. I mean, it really is the one community-based organisation that really focuses on psychosis at a community level.

And sometimes that’s what you’re really looking for; you just want to be able to connect with someone one-on-one. You want to be able to realise, oh, it’s not just me that’s going through this.

Mary Alberti:
The donations from Federated Health Charities really sustain a lot of the work, and enable us to help people. So at the end of the day it’s not complicated; without these dollars and the support that we receive, we couldn’t provide many of the direct services to people who really need them in our community.

Clayo L:
I think you couldn’t pick a better organisation. The SSO is doing so many initiatives, and they’re constantly striving to do better, to be better and to look ahead.

Mary Alberti:
I would like to say for everyone who’s donated to us through the Federated Health Charities program, thank you very much. I would personally want you to know that your donations and your dollars are going directly to support people who live with mental illness in Ontario.

Federated Health Charities

For general questions, please contact:


Sarah Wood

Executive Director
tel: 437-925-6227


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Toronto, ON
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