Mental health Sunnybrook Magazine - Fall 2019

Sunnybrook program marks 20 years of mental health support in the community

At left, a woman smiles at the camera in a beige blazer. To the right of her, a man wearing a beige sweater smiles at the camera.

This year marks 20 years since the inception of the Sunnybrook Program of Assertive Community Treatment (SunPACT), a group of therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and social workers who support patients with severe and persistent mental illness in the community. The outreach team helps patients manage their illness at home rather than in hospital. 

SunPACT members tackle problems big and small to make a difference in their clients’ lives. In one instance, a piano-playing client was having a difficult time finding a way to move her beloved instrument across the city into her new boarding home.

Social worker Bryan Vaillancourt reached out to Deborah Macpherson, patient care manager, outpatient mental health, to see if SunPACT could help. 

“The piano was the client’s only connection to her past,” says Bryan. “Playing the piano had a positive impact on her. It was therapeutic and helped boost her self-confidence.”

The team worked together and found a way for movers to deliver the instrument to its new location.

The piano is now in the common room of the client’s new home, where she performs and entertains the other residents every day. 

Thanks to SunPACT, the sweet sounds of music are making a difference in this client’s life and others. 

As Deborah says, “This team always goes the extra mile.”

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Jennifer Palisoc

Jennifer Palisoc is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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