New partnership for youth mental health
Canadian Olympians, RBC employees, Sunnybrook staff and members of the community came together today to help launch the first RBC Run for the Kids event in Toronto.
The RBC Run for the Kids will take place over the weekend of September 21-22, 2013. The event will support the creation of the Family Navigation Project, within Sunnybrook's leading youth psychiatry program.
"As many as two million Canadian youth struggle with a mental health or addictions problem, and yet only one in five will get specialized treatment," said Dr. Anthony Levitt, co-chair of the Family Navigation Project and a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook.
"This is in large part because families don't know where to go or how to find the services their children need. The Family Navigation Project will give youth with mental health issues and their families a place to start and a path to follow."
A unique weekend event
The RBC Run for the Kids takes place over the entire weekend of September 21-22 and includes three different run components – a 5K run/walk, a 15K challenge and a 25K race – all in and around the Sunnybrook neighbourhood. Each component is represented by a different colour, something that was reinforced at today's launch as teams of runners, led by RBC Olympians Greg Westlake, Kevin Rempel, Mikael Kingsbury and Jennifer Botterill, dressed in blue, green and yellow, gathered on the Sunnybrook grounds.
- The event's 5K ‘participate' run/walk – represented by the colour blue – is open to all ages, individuals and teams.
- The 15K ‘get moving' challenge – represented by the colour green – encourages youth to be active, an important part of physical and mental health, by having them pledge to run a minimum of 15 km, with the final five kilometres being run at the event.
- The event's 25K ‘go further' race – represented by the colour yellow – enables runners to challenge themselves by going beyond the half-marathon distance without having to run a full marathon.
"While RBC is not an expert in the field of mental health, we understand the toll it can take on children and families, as well as the workplace, school and our communities" said Jamie Anderson, Head of Corporate Strategy & Development, RBC and Executive Champion, RBC Children's Mental Health Project.
"The RBC Children's Mental Health Project enables us to provide funding to critical initiatives like Sunnybrook's Family Navigation Project through the RBC Run for the Kids."
"We've set our sights high for the RBC Run for the Kids event, with a fundraising goal of $800,000," said Dr. Jon Dellandrea, President & CEO of Sunnybrook Foundation.
"Achieving our goal will ensure this important program is up and running and helping Toronto youth by the end of 2013. We are looking to our donors and the community to rally around the event and support this important cause."
Supporting an important cause
Funds raised through the RBC Run for the Kids will support the creation of the Family Navigation Project. This is a first-of-its-kind program in Canada to help families navigate the complex web of mental health services, ensuring youth get quick access to the right care, and meeting a vital need of families with youth seeking mental health services.
The project aims to reach at least 1,000 families annually, and ideally it will become a model other treatment centres can follow.
"At Sunnybrook, we are committed to providing the best care possible for youth with mood and anxiety disorders, and our research in this area helps shape best practices across the country," said Dr. Barry McLellan, Sunnybrook's President & CEO.
To register or find out more information about the RBC Run for the Kids event visit www.rbcrunforthekids.ca.