Bearskin Airlines donation creates comforting atmosphere

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Change your life mural at TBRHSCTHUNDER BAY – HEALTHBEAT – The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is now a more welcoming and inviting place, thanks to a generous donation from Bearskin Airlines. The company’s generosity helped get several patient-focused projects off the ground. These include painted blackboards in each patient room, a shade over the outdoor courtyard’s picnic table, and a graffiti mural with inspirational messaging.

“These small but impactful changes positively enhance the environment in our unit,” explained Angela Hill, Coordinator, Child and Adolescent Mental Health. “The mural is what we are all really excited about. Having positive messaging on the wall can brighten a patient’s day. The artwork is something they can relate to, making it an age-appropriate environment.”

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit is an eight-bed inpatient unit at the Health Sciences Centre. The unit is designed to meet the needs of youth (6-17 years) with severe mental health concerns. Reasons for patient admission may include depression, suicidal thoughts, acute stress reaction, anxiety, and psychosis.

Research shows that 1 in 5 youth under the age of 19 in Canada suffers from a psychiatric disorder. While the research indicates mental illness is a growing concern facing children and youth in Canada, three out of four children who need specialized services do not receive them.

Knowing these statistics, unit staff is dedicated to providing the best care for their patients, recognizing the importance of patient and family centered care.

But it’s not just staff that knows the importance of great care.

Bearskin Airlines has been a proud supporter of exceptional healthcare for many years now. This leading organization in our community raises funds for the Health Sciences Foundation to support several areas of care, including the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit.

“We were overwhelmed by Bearskin Airline’s generosity. In our unit, donations directly impact our patients and the experience they have here,” Hill said.

A lot of thought and planning went into developing the projects.

“We surveyed patients to help choose the messaging for the mural. There was an overwhelming amount of response. Our patients were not only enthusiastic about the project, but they also wanted to contribute in meaningful way,” said Hill.

“Supporting Child and Adolescent Mental Health is just one of the ways we can help to improve healthcare in our community,” said Cliff Friesen of Bearskin Airlines.

Bearskin Airlines is a proud supporter of the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic Curling Bonspiel for breast cancer, Tbaytel Tamarack House, and other patient care initiatives throughout the Health Sciences Centre and Northwestern Ontario.

In the photograph: Mural painter Brian Nienen and Melinda Rodegherio, a nurse with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, stand in front of a mural made possible by a donation from Bearskin Airlines. “Having positive messaging on the wall can brighten a patient’s day,” said Angela Hill, Coordinator, Child and Adolescent Mental Health. “The artwork is something they can relate to, making it an age-appropriate environment.”

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