People across Ontario come together to acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on addiction and mental health and show that recovery from addiction is possible
TORONTO, Ont. (September 28, 2021) – The evening sky was alight with candles as people from across Ontario gathered in person and virtually in acknowledgement of the impact of substance use and addiction. Renascent’s Vigil of Hope was held on September 27, in celebration of recovery from addiction, in remembrance of those who have died, and to spread the hope of recovery for those living with addiction.
The Honourable Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Vaughan-Woodbridge, and Jessica Bell, Member of Provincial Parliament for University-Rosedale, were in attendance at the in-person portion of the event, which was held at Renascent’s treatment centre on Madison Avenue in Toronto. Many other attendees participated online through the livestreaming of the in-person event.
“As addiction treatment providers, it was incredibly important to us at Renascent – especially this year – to spotlight the hope of recovery for the many people within our province who are living with addiction,” said Sue Jaffe, President and Chair, Renascent, Board of Directors. “We have seen rates of substance use and overdose increase drastically in recent years, and it is incumbent upon us to openly discuss the impact of addiction and the stigma associated with it. Doing so will further our collective understanding of addiction and enable more people to seek the help they need.”
At the hour-long event, two Renascent alumni shared about their experience with addiction and their journey of recovery. Attendees lit candles and held a moment of silence in remembrance of those who have died due to the illness. Additionally, at sunset, Toronto’s CN Tower was lit in Renascent’s colours – red, yellow, and blue – as a beacon of hope for those who are still to find their way to recovery.
“Addiction does not only impact one person, but also those who love them, work with them, and the community at large. By coming together, we aimed to send a powerful message that lets everyone impacted by addiction know that they are not alone,” said Laura Bhoi, CEO, Renascent. “There are many programs, services and resources available to help those living with addition and their loved ones. However, reaching out for help is the first critical step that can save and change lives.”
Renascent’s Vigil of Hope is the last of a series of events the organization held in recognition of Recovery Month – a month dedicated to sharing the message of recovery from addiction and challenging the stigma associated with the illness. The events brought together hundreds of people from across Ontario throughout the month for educational, fun, and inspiring activities all related to recovery.
“This September is Ontario’s first official Recovery Month and we are committed to filling urgent gaps in mental health addictions care, so that we can finally build a system that fully supports all Ontarians. I extend a heartfelt thank you to Renascent and everyone working in the mental health and addictions sector for their tremendous commitment and efforts to assist people who need our support, particularly during the challenging times of the last 18 months. Tonight’s vigil not only honours those who have been lost to addiction, but serves as a reminder that we must continue supporting one another, spread the message that treatment works and stigmas around addiction and recovery must always be challenged.”
– Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made life more difficult for many residents, and some have turned to addiction. Access to high-quality treatment and mental health programs is integral to addiction recovery. I wish to express my gratitude to the Renascent team for working throughout the addictions crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
– Jessica Bell, Member of Provincial Parliament, University-Rosedale
Renascent has been a trusted leader in the treatment of substance use and concurrent mental disorders for over 50 years; helping more than 50,000 people experiencing addiction on their road to recovery. Renascent is an accredited non-profit treatment centre, which provides hope and healing to individuals, families, loved ones, communities, and organizations impacted by addiction. Renascent Foundation enables the health and well-being of people experiencing addiction by inspiring investment in to mental health and addictions programs and services. For more information about Renascent visit: renascent.ca
For more information, contact: Donna Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo 1: (L-R) Laura Bhoi, CEO, Renascent; Honourable Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions; Sue Jaffe, President and Chair, Renascent Board of Directors; Jessica Bell, Member of Parliament, University-Rosedale.
Photo 2: Laura Bhoi, CEO, Renascent sits next to the Honourable Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions at Renascent’s Vigil of Hope. Attendees observed a minute of silence in remembrance of those who died due to addiction.