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CAMH‘s One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for those affected by mental illness. Millions of Canadians experience the pain of living with mental illness, as do their families, friends, and colleagues. As few as one in six youth with mental illness will access appropriate treatment. As many as nine in ten people with alcohol abuse disorders don’t seek professional care.

In its first three years, CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ has rallied over 3,000 participants and more than 11,000 donors, raising more than $2 million. Shael is one of them.

Shael Risman, CEO of PACE Technical, took the #OneBraveNight challenge because of his brother Carey. Carey struggled with profound mental illness for many years until it finally took his life in 1996. Shael raised over $20,000 for CAMH.

Shael tells us more:

Carey was a die-hard music fan, so for my ONE BRAVE NIGHT, I decided to sit at my piano and sing all night long until I fell over. So many amazing individuals supported me by making a generous donation to my ONE BRAVE NIGHT event. I raised over $20,000 for the cause. I humbly thank all of you.”

As an added bonus, Shael said that anyone donating $50 or more could submit a song to him that he would learn and play at his ONE BRAVE NIGHT event. He invited them to the Naughty Pine Bar and Grill to have some drinks and watch him play all night long.

Shael’s Goal Is To Inspire Hope

Shael participated in CAMH’s ONE BRAVE NIGHT because he wanted to inspire people living with mental illness. And he hopes that through his and other’s efforts they can help CAMH defeat mental illness completely so that no one ever has to deal with the type of pain his brother Carey had to endure. Shael and others like him work with CAMH to improve access to care, conduct research to find better treatments, and build more spaces for healing.

Shael’s fundraising supports CAMH in the following ways:

  • Create three new youth clinics to help address the gap in mental health treatment.
  • Inspire hope through discovery by testing new treatment options for people with severe and treatment-resistant depression.
  • Publish over 500 journal articles, sharing the incredible discoveries made at CAMH.
  • Continue to redevelop CAMH facilities to build treatment, education, and research spaces that reflect respect for patients and hope for recovery.
  • Expand effective and timely access to mental health services in remote and underserved communities around Canada through technology and access to telepsychiatry.

In his Globe and Mail article, “Battling The Darkness: Remembering My Brother and Robin Williams,” Shael explains how his brother Carey suffered and died trying to fight the nightmare of mental illness. It reveals Carey’s struggles with suicide and Shael’s concern as a supportive brother.

“Twenty years ago, suicide was still a whispered subject. We were told outright by a family doctor friend that it was an act of cowardice – and he was not alone in his view. In fact, the rabbi asked us straight out how he should “disguise” the manner of death in his eulogy.

That was a long time ago, and there have been many and myriad positive changes to the way we approach mental illness – new meds, therapies, and programs to name only a few. CAMH has been at the forefront of these efforts for decades. Indeed, they were there for Carey at a time when it wasn’t necessarily okay to talk about it too loudly.

As I remember my irrepressible mentor, Robin Williams, and my beautiful brother, Carey, both casualties in the hard-fought war against clinical depression, I am sad that neither will ever be aware of the differences their lives and deaths made on our perception of this disease. That’s our work now.”

More About Mental Illness And CAMH

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures. About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

As Canada’s leading mental illness research facility, CAMH aims to inspire hope through their groundbreaking discoveries. They want to revolutionize the understanding of the brain and the causes, biomarkers, and treatments for mental illness.

With the generous donations from Shael’s efforts, CAMH is transforming the way they do research. All CAMH patients and staff have a role in advancing discovery. They will continue to use evidence to drive system improvements and social change to optimize care for all.

The team at PACE Technical supported and continues to support Shael’s efforts to help find effective treatments and care for those with mental illness.  If you would like to support CAMH’s efforts, here’s how you can help.  

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