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Mackenzie Health
10 Trench Street, Richmond Hill
Ontario L4C 4Z3

Mackenzie Health Foundation
10 Trench Street, Richmond Hill
Ontario L4C 4Z3

Family Safe Space

New waiting room
will be a refuge for families

Simone Papernick (left), Patient Care Manager, Mental Health Program; Lindsay Thompson, grateful patient of Mackenzie Health’s Mental Health Program; and; John Giancola, Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign donor

Lindsay Thompson knows a thing or two about facing down a challenge. Diagnosed with both schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder when she was just a teenager, she’s worked hard for the last 20 years to live well while managing her illnesses.

Along the way, Mackenzie Health has been a vital resource for her, providing compassionate care whenever she needed it. “No matter how many times I come to Mackenzie Health,” she explains, “the staff are friendly, warm and comforting – just what I need to guide me through a crisis.”


Mackenzie Health’s current mental health team consists of 15 psychiatrists and more than 80 other health care professionals – including nurses, social workers, occupational and recreational therapists and a psychologist – who partner with more than 24 community health agencies to offer inpatient and outpatient care. Each member of that team has dedicated their life to providing some of our community’s most vulnerable people with the best possible care.

Growing that capacity for exceptional care is critical in the face of rising demand for mental health services. Mackenzie Health will soon encompass two full-service hospitals, doubling our community’s access to world-class care.


Demand for mental health care in our community rose an estimated 28% between 2012 and 2019.


John Giancola, Donor, Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign

The new state-of-the-art Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital – set to open in late 2020 – has allowed us to think more holistically about how we support our patients, and how the most effective care often includes caring for their families.

That’s where community support comes in. John Giancola is a great example. A 30-year resident of Vaughan and president of Giancola Aluminum Contractors Inc., John shares this patient-centred vision for care in our community – so much so that he’s made a generous pledge to the creation of the new mental health unit’s family waiting room.

“When loved ones are in the hospital, it’s a challenging time for families,” he says. “The waiting room will provide a place where they can rest, read or watch TV as they wait. A room like this will help make sure families feel safe and taken care of.”

For John, equipping the new hospital to provide outstanding mental health services is personal: “People very close to me struggle with mental health concerns,” he says. “I have seen first-hand the toll it can take.”


The mental health unit at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be a bright light, a place where patients can receive empathy and acceptance and access all the supports they need to continue their journey towards wellness.

– Simone Papernick, Patient Care Manager, Mental Health Program

Lindsay’s family has been a key support system for her since the earliest days of her journey, and it’s with their encouragement that she continues to seek treatment at Mackenzie Health when she needs it. “I feel welcomed in a safe space,” she says.

Thanks to John and other generous Mackenzie Health Foundation donors, Lindsay and her family – and thousands more – can feel confident knowing they have the support of our community and an enhanced mental health program when they need it.

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