Orangeville’s Carley Rawes Centre offers mental health help to youth

March 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews

A new avenue has opened for people seeking mental health services in Dufferin County.

Carley Rawes Centre at the Lord Dufferin Centre in Orangeville will serve young adults living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.

The Carley Rawes Centre officially opened in the Cedar Creek Counselling offices on Monday (March 11). From the centre’s website: At Carley Rawes Centre, we are a group of caring professionals who will help you to confront your feelings, develop tools and learn new skills to fight your negative feelings head on.

The centre’s namesake died by suicide in 2017. She was a cousin of Tracey Hand-Breckenridge, a registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a certified psycho-spiritual therapist with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care.

Also from the centre’s website: Depression darkened Carley Rawe’s life and made living in a full, happy way impossible. It is in her memory, her honour, that the Carley Rawes Centre was founded. Our mission is to help people just like you and Carley to find a glimmer of hope.

David Rawes, Carley’s father, and others from her family were on hand for the centre’s official opening. He’s proud his cousin, Hand-Breckenridge, decided to name the centre in his daughter’s honour.

“She (Carley) struggled with mental health for a number of years and never really would seek out to get the help she needed,” said David Rawes. “But she was always the first one to help friends. So I think it’s kind of fitting her name will carry on to kind of help others.

“It’s very tragic. To be able to get something good out of that is amazing.”

The centre is geared toward young people with limited financial resources. The “flexible fee schedule” exists because they don’t want money to be a reason a person doesn’t seek help for mental health issues.

“It’s something that’s well needed in the community, around here,” David Rawes said. “People struggle with mental health.”

He said there was such a negative stigma associated with mental health issues. Facilities such as the Carley Rawes Centre and the openness today in which mental health is discussed alleviates some of the stigma.

“It’s fantastic that a service like this is available,” Mr. Rawes said.

Ms. Hand-Breckenridge promised the gathered throng during the official opening that she wouldn’t cry. Such vows in such circumstances are rendered moot, and her voice soon tightened as she spoke about honouring Carley and her memory.

“Once we find our purpose in life, realize our role or goal, life becomes more meaningful. More pleasurable,” said Hand-Breckenridge. “You can achieve those goals and you can help people along the way.

“I think in therapy we touch the souls of people who don’t have anyone to share their soul with, often. Don’t have anywhere to explore their pain, the turmoil that they’re in.”

And this is where the soulful woman, the medical practitioner of spirituality, started to fold.

“To be able to offer space for that sort of thing to occur here everyday is a real honour,” Ms. Hand-Breckenridge said.

The first wavers came into her voice.

“It really is,” she said of the work people undertake when they seek to feel better. “It heart work. It’s hard work. It’s soul work. It’s honourable work.”

Mental health services in Dufferin County and, indeed, outside can’t keep up with the need, she said. “And it’s lacking for young people especially,” she said.

“It’ll scratch the tip of the iceberg. And that’s all,” she said of the Carley Rawes Centre, which is a separate entity to Cedar Creek Counselling despite sharing office space.

“To provide adequate services would necessitate far more people than are here and far more comprehensive programs.”

The Carley Rawes Centre has gotten two to five calls a day in the 10 days leading to its opening. That’s indicative of how dire the need is for such services in the county and province-wide, Hand-Breckenridge said.

“We may have a waiting list in a few weeks,” she said. “It’s a huge need.”

Among the many inquiries, Ms. Hand-Breckenridge said the majority of callers have been mothers on behalf of a child.

“They’re beside themselves because they don’t know what else to do,” she said.

A child may have started a program and made headway with help from a public agency such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or the Canadian Mental Health Association. Then the patient hits a wall after discharge.

“They can’t get access to a psychiatrist because it’s so understaffed,” Ms. Hand-Breckenridge said. “They’ll not know where to turn. So they’ll start to slip back into old habits, old thought patterns. They need somebody to keep them where they are (at discharge) so they can keep working through their problems.”

The crowd at the Carley Rawes Centre are also taking steps to help meet future counselling needs through succession planning. That is, Ms. Hand-Breckenridge said, the interns working at the facility will continue after their educations are finished.

“When I first started to practice … I thought this is something that I would like to be able to do,” said Hand-Breckenridge. “To teach and mentor.”

A glance at the numbers behind mental health

Some of the statistics related to mental health concerns in Ontario and Canada show a starkly frightening picture.

– One in five Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem and, by the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, one in two have—or have had—a mental illness. 

– Seventy percent of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence. 

– Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness than any other age group.

– Canadians in the lowest income group are three to four times more likely than those in the highest income group to report poor to fair mental health.

– While mental illness accounts for about 10 percent of the burden of disease in Ontario, it receives just seven percent of health care dollars, according to the CAMH website.

– By age 40, about 50 percent of the population will have or have had a mental illness.

– Anxiety disorders affect five percent of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.

– Suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 percent among 25-44 year olds. 

– Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80 percent of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.


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