Karim Mamdani

Ontario Shores

Karima Velji

Sanaz Riahi

Pandemic Anniversary: A Letter to Everyone at Ontario Shores

One year ago, on March 11, 2020, the world changed in ways we could barely comprehend when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in response to the spread of COVID-19.

It was clear in the days that followed that we needed to adjust to a new normal, whatever that meant in those early days.

Each day we learned more about COVID-19 and how to keep our patients and each other safe. As an organization we moved to secure masks and PPE, we also had to adapt to evolving information as well as new protocols and guidelines being developed and implemented by government on a daily basis.

While these pieces were coming together, sometimes not as quickly as we all would have liked, there you were being a stabilizing figure in a most uncertain time.

The changes we experienced in those first few months came fast and furious. But it was you that gave us the time and confidence we needed in order to get the things in place that were going to keep us safe.

Sometimes we wondered about the best way to implement screening or how to communicate changes. But we never doubted the dedication and commitment of the people in our organization and their desire to keep #RisingUp for our patients and each other.

It’s one year later and I could not be prouder.

Sometimes I use the words Ontario Shores Family when speaking publicly or writing an update about the hospital. I don’t choose those words lightly and these last 12 months have highlighted the togetherness that allows our hospital to shine so brightly.

Regardless of your role, you have been challenged like never before over the last calendar year.

I believe it is important to recognize March 11. It’s important not because of COVID-19 or the things in our life that were stopped or paused. It’s important because it marks the beginning of a journey in which our values were lived and celebrated under extremely challenging conditions.

When things got tough, you kept moving forward. Our patients, who sacrificed freedoms and the support of loved ones, needed you more than ever and you delivered.

James Lane Allen, an American novelist, once wrote: “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” That quote is especially fitting when I think of all we have accomplished in the last year and how we have done it.

In the midst of great adversity, everyone at Ontario Shores has risen up to ensure the people who need us most are cared for and protected from COVID-19 in the most respectful and meaningful of ways.

I am proud of the endless amount of character you have revealed to our patients and each other during the pandemic.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for the people living with mental illness.