Raziya has been living with schizophrenia since shortly after arriving
in Canada from Kenya at age 15. Ten years later, unable to cope with the
symptoms of her mental illness, her husband left her and her daughters
Molly, Mindy and Mandy when they were still young. Raziya has had to fight
for recovery and raise the girls all on her own.
Three years ago a co-worker recommended Raziya call CMHA Toronto. Since then she has been taking part in our Keele Street Women’s Group and our What Next! Peer Support
Centre. Consistent skill building, recreation, emotional and community support has helped Raziya create a stable foundation to build her family a new life upon.
Raziya and the girls are doing much better these days, yet with few family contacts and all she has to manage, she still feels overwhelmed and isolated at times. The holiday season in particular can be a struggle.
If you’ve ever met a CMHA Toronto client like Raziya you know how impressive their strength of spirit is. It is no easy feat to wake up each day and live with a mental illness, yet our clients have a special kind of resiliency. That’s why it is so hard to see their spirits dip during the holidays. While the rest of us are celebrating with our loved ones, many of our clients are reminded that they are no longer in touch with their families. For them it can be a cold and lonely time.
Growth of the Holiday Gift Program means that more families like Raziya and her three girls Molly, Mindy and Mandy will be able to enjoy the holidays with more cheer, more support and more hope.
Lend a helping hand to warm our clients’ hearts during the holidays.
Your contributions make an impact on the lives of real people in need. On their behalf, I hope you’ll join us again this holiday season to help us reach out to even more people isolated due to their mental illness.
At the age of 15, Gabriel Tubongabanua began grappling with mental illness. For years he struggled in school. Later he found it difficult to work more than a few hours per week. He even gave serious thought to whether life was worth living.
Now 31 and working hard to move his life forward, Gabriel recently secured housing and is living independently through his assistance from CMHA Toronto. In his own words:
“I’m getting back on my feet. I just got my own place, working a bit, paying bills. Receiving practical Holiday Gift Program items like hygiene products and warm clothing not only helped me save money but enabled me to focus on bigger things rather than just daily necessities. The Holiday Gift Program was for me not only warm and thoughtful; it made a real difference to my progress right when I needed it. For me, now, the future looks so much brighter than it did a while ago.”