Mental healthcare at St. Joseph’s receives $5 million boost
June 21, 2023
LONDON, Ont. – In the largest known gift of its kind to support mental healthcare research in Southwestern Ontario, Ryan Finch, president of Finch Auto Group, has personally donated $5 million to St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) through St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation.
The landmark donation will fund research into new solutions aimed at making it easier for patients to access mental healthcare and receive the help they need, essentially “rebooting” the mental healthcare system.
The announcement at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute on Thursday, June 15, included the unveiling of a new name for the building where mental healthcare is provided: “The Finch Family Mental Health Care Building”.
“I feel lucky to be able to give back,” said Finch. “With mental health at the forefront of so many aspects of life today, I wanted to make a difference and if this donation finds new ways to make it easier for people to get help, then it has served its purpose. Every moment when someone is hurting is a moment to be supportive. I want this donation to offer hope for people with mental health illnesses.”
Through Lawson Health Research Institute, the funds will support an innovative new term research chair in Mental Health System Transformation, a first in Canada, to develop collaborative initiatives that further mental health system change in London.
Additionally, the funds will support special initiatives aimed at improving the system, and the expansion of St. Joseph’s innovative research project Mental Health INcubator for Disruptive Solutions (MINDS 2.0).
“This funding is about fundamentally rebooting the mental healthcare system,” said Jodi Younger (pictured), St. Joseph’s vice president of Patient Care and Quality. “It’s long been a complicated and complex system to navigate, especially for individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. More than 50 percent of people have their first mental health encounter in the emergency room because they don’t know where to go.”
The Finch Family Mental Health Care Building, with 156 inpatient beds, is dedicated to those with severe and persistent mental illness in need of longer-stay, specialized mental healthcare. The mental health program also extends beyond the walls of the building with more than 150,000 outpatient and outreach visits per year.
The building was renamed to recognize Finch for his generosity and to simultaneously tackle the broader issue of stigma.
“We are immensely grateful to Ryan Finch for his transformational donation,” said Michelle Campbell, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. “In addition to his generosity, the addition of the Finch name on our building opens conversations and breaks down community barriers. We want to recognize Ryan Finch for his exceptional community leadership that will help to transform mental healthcare for patients and their families across our region.”
First established in 2017, the Mental Health INcubator for Disruptive Solutions (MINDS) is the first social innovation lab focused on tackling mental health issues among transitional-aged youth, ages 16-25. It engages community members and youth with lived experience, who have a stake in mental health to redesign the system and find new solutions. MINDS 2.0 builds on the momentum created by MINDS and expands research capacity to include adults with more severe, complex mental illness and addictions and examines social factors such as poverty, homelessness, and trauma that contribute to mental health illnesses. It will also develop a training program for mental health providers such as clinicians, social service workers, police officers and others that will help them enhance their work in the community.
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic healthcare centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other healthcare and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental healthcare; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit www.sjhc.london.on.ca.
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation gathers, grows and grants philanthropic funds to enable St. Joseph’s Health Care London to pursue excellence in care, teaching and research. Through donor support, the foundation contributes to advances in the delivery of patient care, specialized equipment, research initiatives and capital funds at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care and Lawson Health Research Institute. As one of the largest charitable organizations in Southwestern Ontario, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation is an accredited member of Imagine Canada’s Ethical Trustmark Program, which recognizes the foundation’s commitment to ethical fundraising and donor accountability.
About Lawson Health Research Institute
Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in healthcare. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit www.lawsonresearch.ca.