St Joseph’s of Hamilton fourth city to start youth run-therapy program

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton has started a youth run-therapy program this spring, thanks to the support of the CameronHelps board members and social worker Dan McGann.

St. Joe’s pilot program will monitor the effects of exercise on a group of 16-25 year olds, who suffer from depression and anxiety, for a 12-week period. It’s modelled after the Credit Valley Hospital program, started by Dan. This is the now the fourth city to roll out the run-group therapy (CVH in Mississauga, Lutherwood in Waterloo, JACS in Thornhill are the others).

“We have an ongoing support role with St. Joseph’s and McMaster University,” says Board Chair Randy Flewelling. “Dr. Roberto Sassi and Dr. Margaret McKinnon both spoke at our AGM and are very keen to expand their monitoring to the other programs over time. We value the partnership and look forward to seeing the results of their study in November.”

Program Director John Knox has also been advising the Hamilton team on how to train newcomers to build up their running stamina. Many of the researchers attached to the study have also participated as running coaches.

“From planning to execution, this project has been a collaborative effort…” says Dr. Margaret McKinnon, Psychologist, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and study co-lead.
Adds Dr. Roberto Sassi, Psychiatrist, Mood Disorders Clinic at SJHH: “The results of the study have huge potential in the future of treatment of anxiety and depression. Exercise is a powerful tool in treating mental health disorders. It’s a social activity, and exercise is also an incredible metaphor when dealing with your struggles.”

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a regional leader in mental health excellence, and is committed to eradicating stigma and promoting the fullest recover for every person.