Renfrew Center World Mental Health Day
On Oct. 10, individuals across the world will be celebrating and honoring what has become known as World Mental Health Day, a collective day of reflection and awareness. The day encourages all to engage in conversations about the stigmatization of mental health and how struggling individuals can seek resources, as well as how society can move forward with a better understanding of its impacts.
One such organization taking part in the worldwide event is a nationwide organization, The Renfrew Center. Opening its doors to the public in 1985, the center was the first residential treatment center for people with eating disorders in the United States. It was founded on values of community and connection, acknowledging the fact that individuals struggling with mental health require a different form of treatment than a patient with a physical impairment.
This was at a time when the perspective on mental health was rather ambiguous, lacking the sort of knowledge providers now have on what mental health disorders are and what kind of treatment they require. Dr. Samantha DeCaro, director of Clinical Outreach and Education with a history of working as a therapist at Renfrew, shared on the matter how the Renfrew Center took a different approach to mental health treatment, in contrast to previous practices that just entailed hospitalization like one would get for a physical injury. “When we opened our doors in 1985, [we] really brought in the mental health piece. We knew that people with eating disorders needed to heal with connection and community, not in a hospital bed,” said DeCaro.
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