Hamilton health-care provider gifted $500,000 for expansion of mental health services


Published December 21, 2021 at 10:53 am

LiUNA's Joe Mancinelli donated one of his paintings, entitled 'Frontline Heroes' to St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. The Hamilton-based union also donated $500,000 to St. Joe's which will go towards increasing emergency mental health services in the city. — photo courtesy St. Joe's Twitter

A massive donation to St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton will go a long way to help support emergency mental health care in the City.

Hamilton’s Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) gifted the health-care provider with $500,000. The money has been earmarked for a project that will double the footprint of St. Joe’s Emergency Mental Health Service.

Out of this $7-million project, two new units will be created: one for those who require urgent medical care and mental health support but are not likely to be admitted to the hospital; and another designed to help those experiencing more severe mental health or addiction-related concerns and who may need to be admitted for specialized care.

“The pandemic is having a severe and lasting effect on the mental health of Canadians,” said Dr. Maxine Lewis, Joint Chief, Mental Health & Addictions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Niagara Health in a press release.

“Some are experiencing severe panic attacks due to fear and anxiety, while others are depressed from long periods of isolation or job loss and economic uncertainties.”

St. Joe’s is Hamilton sole provider of mental health care for people over the age of 17. According to the release, more than 4,000 patients access care through them annually — a number that the health-care provider said has seen a steep increase since the onslaught of the pandemic.

“Frontline workers are experiencing PTSD from all that they have witnessed and we’re seeing a host of addiction-related concerns as the data shows that substance use has escalated, too,” Lewis said.

Joe Mancinelli, LiUNA’s International Vice President and Regional Manager of Central and Eastern Canada, presented St. Joe’s with the monetary donation from the union and its members and also donated something a little more personal.

Mancinelli, who said he turned to his passion for painting to find relief during the pandemic, has donated one of his very own giclée paintings, entitled ‘Frontline Heroes’ to the hospital.

The painting depicts one frontline caregiver comforting another outside of a patient room, a snapshot of the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on the mental health of frontline workers.

“Painting, for me, has always been a creative outlet to express what I am feeling that cannot accurately be portrayed in words,” Mancinelli said in the release.

“St. Joe’s is a pillar of our Hamilton Community and on behalf of LiUNA we are proud of our ongoing partnership to strengthen accessible mental health outreach and support programs that impact our members, families, loved ones and our greater community.”

While the $500,000 LiUNA gift is a great start, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation is working with the community to raise more than $3 million to kick-start the construction while the hospital is working with the Ministry of Health to request support.

More information on St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the services it provides can be found on the hospital’s website.

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