Mentall Illness in Children and Youth: Oakville Navigator Programme

by Donna Kirk on February 23, 2013

I know first-hand what it is like to have a family member suffer with mental illness. According to statistics, I am not alone. One in five Ontarians has a mental illness.
When our son Matthew first started showing signs of mental instability at age sixteen, my husband and I stumbled around until we finally found some support to address our son’s symptoms. Nothing helped Matthew for any sustained period of time. Our family was desperate and in despair.

I wish the Halton Health Services Navigator Program had been available when we needed it. The Navigator Program could have expedited the confusing array of various agencies and guided Matthew to the correct doctors and promising treatment – something that only happened by chance, more than twenty years later in 2009, a year before his death.

I joined the Oakville Hospital Foundation’s Navigator Program campaign because I know the positive impact it will have on hundreds of families. Throughout this campaign, every dollar ($1) donated to the program will trigger an additional two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) through the generosity of the Mental Wellness Network and the Amarna Foundation.

The goal is to raise $1,250,000 by December 2013. Once raised, this money will be self-sustaining and will support the program for many years.
Please join me and give families the urgent support system they desperately need on their road to recovery.

Donna Kirk

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Sim February 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Dear Donna…way to go in continuing to help with the Oakville Navigator Programme. Only those who have been or continue to be embroiled in the complexities of mental illness, who are also so exhausted from ‘life’, can truly appreciate the great need.
As you know, in our case, our son is now almost 42 and his life, and therefore ours, continues to be complicated! I have been in full time ministry now for over 25 years and about a year and a half ago, started a church in Oakville where EVERYONE is accepted and loved. We financially support the Abilities Church (Toronto based inclusive ministry) and of course it is in our hearts to love and accept the folks right here in Oakville who are mentally challenged and/or mentally ill. We are on the brink of growth (need our own facility!) and I look forward to getting our vision off the ground to embrace the aging adults who have such significant needs….needs that are likely to become more intense with age.
Thanks for all you are doing Donna!
Michelle Sim


Edwardo Francis June 14, 2013 at 4:40 am

Carole O’Toole, MS, Training Facilitator, is Director of Smith Center’s hospital and community-based patient navigation programs, and was instrumental in the development of their integrative navigation model. She was trained as a Cancer Guide through the Center for Mind Body Medicine, founded a private cancer coaching practice, and served as a navigator at a Washington, DC area hospital. Ms. O’Toole has been involved with cancer navigation for 15 years, is the author of two books on integrative cancer care, and has chaired the DC Cancer Consortium Workgroup on Patient Navigation Training and Education.


Donna Kirk June 30, 2013 at 7:45 am

Thank you for commenting on my post. At Oakville Health Sciences Centre we are in the midst of a fundraising campaign for our Navigator Program. Once our goal is reached (date of September 2013) our Navigator Program will be self-sustaining.


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