Schizophrenia Society of Ontario seeks participants in landmark study
TORONTO (August 22, 2013)
– The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) is seeking participants in a new research study that will examine the effects of stigma and discrimination on youth living with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.
Led by the SSO’s Dr. Taryn Tang, and in partnership with the Hispanic Development Council, Across Boundaries, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the research team intends to fill a much-needed research gap and produce programs to serve Ontario’s highly diverse youth population. No other studies of this kind have been undertaken in Ontario.
"Currently, we know very little about the experiences of young people from ethno-racial communities who are living with schizophrenia and depression in Ontario," said Mary Alberti, CEO of the SSO. "By better understanding their experiences, we hope to develop more effective anti-stigma programs and educational resources and increase access to services and supports.”
“This research will bridge the gaps in knowledge and services when it comes to ethno-racial communities, something that is of paramount importance to the SSO,” Alberti continued.
The SSO wants to hear from Latino Hispanic, South Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Caucasian people in the Greater Toronto Area. It wants input from those between 16-24, both who are and are not living with schizophrenia or depression and their family members. Interviews are available in English, Spanish, Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi.
Ayesha Jabbar has had first-hand experience with mental health issues and stigma. As a young South Asian woman living with depression, Jabbar found it challenging to speak openly about her experiences.
"Racialized youth living with mental health issues can have an extremely difficult time finding the support they need,” Jabbar said, noting that individuals and their families can bear stigma from many sources including their ethno-racial communities. “I kept my issues under wraps, and that’s not something I want other young people to go through."
"Having support and acknowledgement within your family and community is critical for young people and for recovery.”
Sandra Cordero is a mental health advocate who came to Toronto from Colombia in 2003.
"This is a deeply personal issue for me. My 21-year-old son is an intelligent, sociable, funny and promising young man. He also lives with schizophrenia," said Cordero. "Young people living with schizophrenia can lead fulfilling lives and realize their dreams. To support our youth, we must challenge stigma and increase access to mental health services and supports."
Reaching out to youth, their families and peers to conduct this research is significant, said Camille Quenneville, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, which is funding the bulk of the project.
"It is important to ensure that Ontario’s mental health system is meeting the needs of our very diverse population," Quenneville said. "If we better understand the needs and experiences of ethno-racial youth in Ontario, we can improve both the accessibility and the quality of mental health services and supports."
People wishing to participate in this project may contact Rahma Kerim of the SSO at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-449-6367, ext. 259. A $30 honorarium will be awarded for each interview.
About the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario
The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) is a province-wide charitable organization that was founded in 1979 to build awareness about serious mental illnesses and to support families and individuals living with these illnesses. The SSO provides a range of support services; education initiatives; awareness, information and knowledge building programs; advocacy; youth-oriented programming and a diverse research program; all geared to making a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by schizophrenia and psychosis.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario
Founded in 1952, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to making mental health possible for all. CMHA Ontario contributes knowledge, resources and skills to provincial policy development and implementation. We also work closely with 31 local branches in communities across the province to ensure the quality delivery of services to consumers and families of individuals with mental illness, dual diagnosis and concurrent disorders.
For more information, please contact:
Mary-Margaret Jones (on behalf of)
Schizophrenia Society of Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
416-977-5580 ext. 4141