Swim for Mental Health Raises Awareness and Funds for Oakville Hospital

Posted: November 30, 2011
The Oakville community is healthier in mind and body thanks to Frank Zamuner and a crew of dedicated participants who swam nearly 5,000 lengths and raised $32,000 during the third annual Swim for Mental Health, presented by Century Twenty One, Goodale Miller Team. The event took place at Appleby College on November 24th through to November 26th.
This year’s event drew more than triple the number of swimmers and raised more funds than in previous years. The event serves the dual purpose of building a community of understanding to help decrease the stigma of mental illness, while also raising money through donations and participation for much needed facility upgrades at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.
Funds raised will benefit those coming to the hospital’s Emergency Room (E.R.) in the midst of a mental health crisis. Currently, the E.R. has one centrally located seclusion room available for patients in need of a quiet and safe space from the general busyness of the E.R. atmosphere. These funds will go toward redeveloping the existing seclusion room and repurposing an adjacent space into a second seclusion room with the E.R.
This project is urgently needed to provide the level of care and dignity these patients deserve. Before admitting patients to the Adult or Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Services, they must be treated for any medical issues by the Emergency Care team, as well as receiving interim care via the mental health Crisis Team. These rooms will provide a safe and warm atmosphere for patients to be with their families throughout the process.
In addition to raising funds, the event plays a significant role in decreasing the stigma of mental illness.
“From my experience, the biggest long-term concern I have around people who have a mental illness is that they develop guilt and shame,” said Dr. Kenny Handelman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “When we can raise awareness, and decrease stigma, we can significantly improve the long-term outcome because people realize these are real medical issues.” 
“We have the power here to raise awareness and overcome the shame surrounding mental illness,” said Zamuner, a 75-year-old Oakville resident who founded the event after experiencing a severe bout of depression following heart surgery. “The therapeutic benefit of swimming has the power to alter the chemistry of the brain. Helping others is helping yourself.”

For more information contact:
Suzanne Hallsworth, Communications Director
905.845.2571, ext 6250