FeatureSports & Health

Together for mental health

At the age of 41, Amanda Dass was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and it was the first time in her life that she truly felt scared.

With her diagnosis came feelings of fear, shame and guilt. Dass knew she needed support, and thankfully she was able to find it.

Dass was referred to Dr. Rus Sethna, a psychiatrist at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH). She sought treatment from the hospital’s team of nurses and other healthcare providers who ultimately changed her life.

“I no longer hang my head in shame, afraid to speak out about mental illness and, more importantly, feel that sense of guilt that something is broken within me. I couldn’t have done this without the assistance of MSH, daily gratitude and affirmations,” says Dass.

MSH is addressing the unique obstacles that women in our diverse community face on the path to mental wellness with its Women’s Wellness Services program.

Using a variety of methods, the program aims to improve a woman’s sense of personal well-being, calm and mental flexibility, strengthen her focus, promote the management of difficult emotions and foster a better self-awareness. MSH offers several types of group therapy, including art therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, interpersonal psychotherapy, postpartum depression, cognitive behaviour therapy and antenatal depression cognitive behaviour therapy.

With no physician referral necessary, it is a barrier-free registration process where women can self refer and where every woman is welcome.

The women’s wellness program is vital to the over 1,200 women who rely on it every year. The program is generously supported by the community and Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women.

Dass also found support in movement and exercise, taking up meditation and yoga — even training to become a yoga teacher. Her journey has compelled her to share her story, and to educate and empower others to seek help.

“This is a journey we need to do together,” adds Dass. “I encourage everyone to participate in the Run for Women Markham. We need to support to ensure there are resources for women to get the help they desperately need to feel better and lead their best life.”

The Run for Women Markham returns on Sunday, May 28, 2023, at the Markham Civic Centre.

Register to walk or run for the Markham event at www.runforwomen.ca/Unionville.

Your participation will help break down the stigma and show women like Dass that they are not alone.

Photo: Amanda Dass found the mental health care she needed thanks to Markham Stouffville Hospital and Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women.

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