Get To Know Ontario Shores Through Public Service Announcement

What does your organization do?

It is a question I often hear when out in the community and one that isn’t easily answered in a single sentence. It’s not that it is hard to explain that we are one of four specialty stand-alone mental health centres in Ontario or that we are a public hospital who provides specialized assessment and treatment for youth right up to seniors.  In less than 30 seconds how do you explain our in and outpatients services, our academic mandate, our research or educational initiatives?

 It isn’t easy.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words so creating a public service video seemed like a pretty good idea.

The idea really came from our physician in-chief Dr. Ian Dawe who shared a video from the Cleveland Clinic that captured what staff and patients were thinking as they moved throughout the hospital. It was a clever concept so the thought was, let’s show what people go through along their journey to recovery and the role Ontario Shores plays.

I drafted a script and brought in Dr. Dawe and other clinical managers to make sure the stories we told were accurate and the language we used was appropriate. We also engaged Affinity Productions who had done such a wonderful job with us on the adolescent mental health documentary Three Voices.

We wanted – in 90 seconds – to show the discovery, recovery and hope stories of people in four main areas – youth, seniors, forensic and outpatient care. There are a lot of moving parts at Ontario Shores that you can’t capture in such a short PSA. But essentially they all come together to support those people with severe mental illness along their roads to recovery.

I engaged local community theatre contacts to find people to take part in the project and in the end we found three great community actors, staff and people with lived experience to make up the cast.

Shooting took place over two and a half intensive days at both Ontario Shores and my home which sparked excitement for my children and speculation among my neighbours (I am not the Walter White of Courtice), especially during the forensic scene with a police officer at my door.  It was a whirlwind of activity but everyone involved rallied together and so many deserve thanks for their role in making this come to life.

In the end I think we captured the essence of Ontario Shores from the perspective of one’s journey – the despair, the care and support and the recovery.

But, if a picture truly is worth a thousand words than enough of my yapping and judge for yourself…