From mental illness to hopeful futures.
Eli’s Place will be a rural, residential long-term treatment centre for young adults with serious mental illness. Our supportive therapeutic community promotes recovery and resilience through the acquisition of life and work skills. Our vision is to go from mental illness to hopeful futures.
The Eli’s Place Story
The following remarks were delivered by Eli’s Place founders Deborah and David Cooper in May 2015, following the sold-out premiere of Therefore Choose Life at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The inspiring evening was the first fundraising and awareness event for Eli’s Place.
“Our son, Eli, was full of promise. He was joyful, had a great intellect, was multilingual and very well-read. He was known for his quick wit and laughed easily. He loved to sing and taught himself guitar, which he enjoyed playing, especially when working with children. Eli cared deeply for others and the world. He had so many dreams and plans…
Mental illness became our curse. Typically, Eli began to struggle in his late teens, being diagnosed first with depression and later Bipolar Disorder (BPD). With psychiatric care and medications, he strove to follow his dreams… 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. That was almost five years ago. 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.
We have learned much in these past few years and have come so far on our journey to create a blessing from the dark curse of watching a child suffer, tragic loss and infinite grief.
We have learned that one in five Canadians suffers from mental illness; more than a statistic, it’s someone you know. We have learned that up to 60% of young adults with BPD 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 no long-term recovery-based programs in Canada to deal with young adults with serious mental illness. We have discovered outstanding models of recovery throughout the world, and have visited three American centres, which produce positive outcome studies and measurable successes.
We are blessed with a remarkable Board and committees made up of people who enthusiastically and generously volunteer their time and talents. We have the interest of two universities, and have received encouraging endorsements from dozens of well-respected mental health practitioners.
Eli’s Place will be built to nurture hope, recovery, compassion, and resiliency. It will be a place to develop life and work skills; to find a path towards functional and meaningful living.
Now is the time, with your support, to create Eli’s Place and change the future forever for young adults 18 to 35 years of age struggling with serious mental illness, young people like our son Eli.”