The conversation around mental health has changed in the last decade thanks to awareness raising campaigns that flood our airwaves and social media feeds seeking to normalize mental health issues while advocating for better treatment options and increased services. Awareness campaigns and hashtag days have made inroads into destigmatizing mental health issues, a cultural shift towards understanding that mental health is health.
March 29, 2019 / Eli's Place / Comments Off on Why We’re Launching Canada’s First Rural Residential Treatment Centre for Emerging Adults
Eli’s Place founders Deborah and David Cooper were invited recently to sit down with Michael Stroh for a conversation on State of Mind Podcast. Today on World Bipolar Day, we’re sharing this podcast with you as a reminder of why we do the work we do, working to launch Canada’s first rural residential recovery based centre for emerging adults (19-35) with serious mental illness.
Please take a listen to the conversation in full via the video below and thank you for your continued and ongoing support for this important project! As David mentions in the interview, the doors to Eli’s Place are projected to open in 2021 and we have all of you to thank for that. You can continue to support us in keeping Eli’s memory alive by making a donation here.
The quotes found in the following summary were taken from the above interview:
Eli Nathan Cooper, after whom Eli’s Place was named, began to struggle and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD) in his late teens. Joyful, witty and talented, Eli continued to struggle to pursue his dreams with the help of psychiatric care and medication. However his progressive illness interfered with accomplishing his goals, fulfilling relationships and so many other normal developmental tasks that lead to healthy adulthood.
He couldn’t fight the battle any longer and took his life thirteen months after his first suicide attempt, just before his 31st birthday. An instant in time that has changed the course of our lives forever, and led us to create the vision we call Eli’s Place.
“That changed our lives forever and sent us on a new journey. And it’s a story of such profound loss, but we at this point really see it as a story of recovery and of hope and this is what we want to transmit because through all the loss and the grief…we have found a way to memorialize Eli by trying to do something to make things better for others.” – Deborah Cooper
Up to 60% of young adults with BD will attempt suicide at least once in their lives and up to 19% will complete suicide, often more than a year following their first attempt. We have identified that there are currently no long-term recovery based programs in Canada to deal with young adults with serious mental illness. Yet, there are outstanding models of recovery throughout the world that produce positive outcome studies and measurable successes.
This is why we’re working to launch Canada’s first rural residential long-term recovery centre for emerging adults with serious mental illness.
What Will Treatment at Eli’s Place Look Like?
Projected to open in 2021, residents will live within community in a therapeutic support network, while gaining important life skills by working on the organic farm, participating in music and art therapy, in addition to the regular modalities of mental health care.
The average stay at Eli’s Place will be 6-9 months (further into a year if needed) and the transitional period will be 1-2 years, all the while on an organic farm where residents will be learning life and work skills while receiving treatment.
“This is one way to give hope to others where no hope was deemed possible before and also to save lives – the farm will house 40 residents and there will be two beds for respite care. We’ll have the regular modalities and in addition to that, we’ll have music and art therapy; and we’ll have an organic farm.” – David Cooper
Why the Recovery Model?
“When Eli was ill and he was in hospital he heard about WOOFing – which is Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms – and although it wasn’t appropriate for him because there was no therapy involved, he did try it. He verbalized to us all the advantages of living out in nature – he would be well fed and active in his own care, he would live in community and he would have exercise and just being in nature, the benefit of that we know is so important. So we just went on this quest and found these treatment centres that actually not only offer all the advantages of being outdoors, but offer therapy as well. So there will be psychiatric involvement, there will be CBT and DBT perhaps – the modalities that are so necessary – plus the arts, yoga, physical exercise, mindfulness and music therapy.” – Deborah
“We’re not reinventing the wheel here. We searched and we found 33 other farms around the world that are similar to Eli’s Place. Out of those 33 farms we visited three and we’re modelling after one of them – it’s called Gould Farm in Monterey Massachusetts, established 106 years ago and their outcome studies are exemplary.” – David
“We were a little surprised that there was nothing like this in Canada. There are 33 of them in the US, they’re all over the world, in the UK and Australia. It’s based on something called the Recovery Model – and this is the key…Bipolar Disorder and other mood disorders don’t go away. The Recovery Model is about learning to live with an illness, learning to have the highest quality of life you can have and how to manage it. How to compensate, how to work with the symptoms, how to recognize when you need help.” – Deborah
On January 30th, the Canadian Communications Giant Bell Media takes the Twitter airwaves by storm with its now extremely popular annual #BellLetsTalk day, a hashtag campaign designed to end the stigma around mental health issues by encouraging conversation while raising awareness and funds for mental health care initiatives. Their 2017 campaign blew past all previous records, clocking in at a whopping 133 million interactions, which translates to over six million dollars in donations from Bell.
It has been known for many years now that during the winter holiday season, there is an increase in depression, and death, especially from cardiac events. One presumed cause for this is the increase in stress and conflict that can occur during the holiday season. For individuals with pre-existing mental health issues, or families dealing with loved ones who are experiencing serious mental illness or addiction issues, this can be an especially difficult time.