June 24, 2024

Serene Nest

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Hyundai donation kicks off drive for youth mental health unit at Markham hospital

3 min read

Hyundai’s $500,000 donation toward inpatient unit ‘will be the catalyst that inspires the support of our community,’ says Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation CEO

A $500,000 donation from Hyundai Canada has kicked off the campaign for in a new, six-bed child and adolescent mental health inpatient unit at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital.

The unit would be an expansion of the existing outpatient services and will fill a critical gap in child and youth mental health support York and Durham regions, according to a Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation news release.

The project has been in the works for the past decade but has struggled to secure the adequate funding to launch a fundraiser, the foundation stated.

The need for pediatric mental health beds and supporting services has increased substantially across the GTA in recent years and the Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team, which serves 18 communities within its catchment area, currently does not have any acute care services for children and adolescents, leaving a significant gap in the region.

More than 35 to 40 children come to the Markham hospital’s emergency department every month in need of acute mental health care. Those needing admission wait 10 to 18 hours for placement.

In the fiscal year of 2023/2024, approximately 61 per cent of emergency mental health adolescent admissions were transferred to external facilities, an increase of approximately 20 per cent over the previous fiscal year.

“Since the pandemic, there have been more kids in crisis than I have ever seen in my career. I can’t think of a family in this day and age that hasn’t been impacted. The need for this unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital is something we have to address as our community gets bigger,” says Dr. Rus Sethna, chief of psychiatry, Oak Valley Health. “As a community, we need to band together to continue to destigmatize mental illness, and work together to bring innovation and mental health care to our local community.”

The six-bed child and adolescent mental health inpatient unit reflects the community’s need, with capacity based on an average inpatient stay of 21 days. In adding inpatient services, Markham Stouffville Hospital aims to ensure timely access to care for patients in crisis and improve patient outcomes.

In tandem with the existing outpatient services, the new inpatient unit will improve continuity of care and is expected to decrease the risk of readmission by ensuring ongoing access to support post-discharge, including one-on-one counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy groups, family therapy, medication management and more.

“Supporting today’s youth for their success tomorrow is one of the core tenets of Hyundai’s larger ethos of ‘progress for humanity,’” says Kirk Merrett, Hyundai Canada’s director of human resources and administration. “Every child deserves to be able to access the support they need within their local community. We are thankful and fortunate that we can support the community through the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation and help realize a goal that is long overdue.”

“Hyundai truly is a shining example of what corporations can accomplish through philanthropy. We know that their generosity will be the catalyst that inspires the support of our community and raises awareness for this special cause,” says Suzette Strong, CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

For more information or to donate, visit www.mshf.on.ca.



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