Mental Health Patients Collect 677 lbs of food for North York Harvest Food Bank
Every year, patients in Humber’s Day Treatment Program organize a food drive in support of North York Harvest Food Bank. This year, they collected a total of 676.6 lbs of non-perishable food items, more than four times their goal of 150 lbs!
The program – now in its fifth year – benefits everyone. Not only does the Food Bank and its patrons benefit from our patients’ efforts, but patients in the Day Treatment Program have the opportunity to build important life skills.
The Day Treatment Program primarily serves Humber patients with chronic mental illness, with the goal of helping them reintegrate back into their community.
Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, and Pharmacists all work together to teach them many of the skills they need to thrive outside of the Hospital. Patients in the Day Treatment Program:
- Learn life skills like budgeting, hygiene, and cooking
- Practice social skills like starting new conversations and dealing with conflict
- Are taught about the resources in their community that are available to them (for example, on a recent trip to the library they all got library cards)
- Discuss approaches to disclosing mental illness
- Volunteer through initiatives like the food drive and McHappy Day
“We work with them for a long time and the program is very hands-on,” says Tammy, an Occupational Therapist. “I feel lucky to experience their progress. Some of them we already know as inpatients or from our other clinics.”
The majority of patients start the Program as inpatients and then continue after they are discharged, returning to Humber River Hospital every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30am to 2:30pm for three to six months.
The food drive is a natural extension of everything they are learning: It reminds them that they are members of their community, shows them a tangible way they can be giving back, and is an exercise in goal-setting. Some former patients choose to give back through the North York Harvest Food Bank after their program has finished.
Donna, a dietitian, teaches patients in the Day Treatment Program about food, including how to shop on a limited budget and how to prepare meals using the same foods they collect for the Food Drive: canned tomatoes, canned beans, rice, vegetable oil, and canned fish.
“Our work with the Day Treatment Program is rewarding,” says Nam, a Registered Nurse in Humber’s Mental Health & Addictions Program. “It’s one of the most intensive programs I work in at Humber. It gives me the chance to see patients’ progress.”
“It is rewarding to see them accomplish their goals and share those wins with their group,” says Shirley, an Occupational Therapist. “The Day Treatment Program gives them the opportunity to connect and feel like they are part of something.”