Getting timely and effective care is key to a healthy recovery and developing better treatment outcomes for all individuals. This week we spoke to The Sashbear Foundation, who are looking to promote awareness and improve services related to emotion regulation.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The Sashbear Foundation is a registered charity whose mission is to promote awareness for the need of early prevention, recognition, timely intervention and access to affordable treatment of individuals with emotional dysregulation. As part of this mission the foundation offers skills groups throughout the country to families with loved ones impacted by emotion dysregulation and related problems.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Families are often the first line of support to loved ones struggling with mental health issues. While support and services for those struggling are scarce and/or unaffordable, skills for family members to help regain balance in their lives and better support their loved ones are even more difficult to find – this is one of the main problems the charity aims to solve by providing skills and hope to families in need while, at the same time, working to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.
When did you start/join it?
The Sashbear Foundation was created after losing my daughter Sasha at 20 years of age to suicide after her battle with Borderline personality Disorder in 2011.
What made you want to get involved?
Finding out that we were not the only families struggling to find services and support through skills and hope while supporting a loved one struggling with emotion dysregulation or Borderline personality disorder.
What was the situation like when you started?
When my daughter was struggling with BPD, we were not able to find services and support for us. Either we were facing huge waitlist or no services at all. We had to drive 9 hours to go to Boston for a weekly 90-minute program of skills education and coaching.
How has it changed since?
The landscape for support for families with loved one struggling with mental health issues is finally changing. An emphasis on supporting loved one as well as family members is now recognized as important to improve outcomes. We now know through Research that individual and family members well-being are intertwined hence the importance of providing support to both. Sashbear is now providing skills and hope free of charge to participants in Toronto. Due to covid-19, in-person groups stopped but virtual groups are now offered. For example, this month alone, 12 virtual groups of skills to family members will be offered to different communities in Toronto.
What more needs to be done?
There is a huge need for education on mental health issues, so stigma doesn’t get in the way of support, skills and hope for families supporting loved one struggling with mental health issues. Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide…we must do something about it. Too many are gone too soon. According to WHO, one in four people will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives and two-thirds of people struggling with mental health issues will never seek help due to stigma and discrimination.
How can our readers help?
Please donate to the Sashbear Foundation to help us reach out to more families in need of skills and hope and provide the evidence-based Family Connections program to families.
Do you have any events coming up?
Annual virtual walk event to raise awareness on emotion dysregulation and BPD on May Sunday May 30, 2021.
Family Connections groups starting this fall and in January 2021.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Distress Centres of greater Toronto.