Margaret’s Staff Saves Lives

Margaret’s Staff Saves Lives

Margaret’s Staff Saves Lives

National Recovery Month

Did you know that September is National Recovery Month? During the month of September, Canadians in recovery from addiction join with friends and family to build awareness, challenge societal stigma, and celebrate the role that recovery plays in improving the lives of individuals, families, workplaces and communities.

Margaret’s has always placed importance on harm-reduction and crisis intervention. Because of people like you, clients that typically face barriers to the supports they need are never turned away. Our stance on harm-reduction is enforced through regular training and a shared compassion and understanding among staff.

Here’s a story about how supporters like you, make a difference in the lives of Toronto’s most vulnerable. As a team, we’re committed to ensuring that clients get the help they need without feeling ashamed of their circumstances.

Last September, a year from today, Margaret’s drop-in staff took part in Naloxone training (Naloxone is medication that completely or partially reverses the effects of an opioid overdose). It was an effort to address the issue of excessive drug use by drop-in clients and to protect those suffering with an addiction.

About two weeks after the training, some of our clients ran into the drop-in centre and frantically yelled for help. Margaret’s staff responded immediately and ran outside to find a regular client unconscious, and presumably dead, in a nearby alleyway. At 70 years old, he had overdosed and lay still on the pavement. Without hesitation, the drop-in staff reacted swiftly and applied the Naloxone training, bringing the man back to life. Within seconds, emergency responders came rushing in and transported the client safely into the ambulance.

Margaret’s drop-in staff does more than offer immediate supports and referrals, they save lives. It takes a special kind of person to not only react immediately in unknown and difficult situations, but also to support those who have lost hope in themselves.

Calling all Margaret’s Supporters

Calling all Margaret’s Supporters

Calling all Margaret’s Supporters

Do you want to make an impact in your community?

Let me tell you how YOU can support a local business, as well as someone living with mental health challenges, in the community. Margaret’s is excited to announce that Metro Drugs, a local pharmacy here in Toronto, is kindly holding a fundraiser on behalf of Margaret’s! This fundraiser will take place over the next 3 months, from now until the end of October. When you make a purchase at Metro, you can donate $2, $5, or $10 at the register or round your purchase up to the nearest dollar – doesn’t get much easier than that!

The most exciting part is that the owner of Metro Drugs, Mike Demian, is matching every dollar donated, up to $7,500. This means that together, we have the potential to raise $15,000! This financial support will have HUGE impact on the Margaret’s community, as it will go towards our community housing projects, providing permanent housing for those in need.

If you find yourself in any of the listed areas below, please stop by and make a donation! This is a win-win scenario.

The participating Metro Drugs locations include:

Metro Drugs has played a special role in the Margaret’s community over the past 10 years as  both a donor and major support to our clients. This is the only pharmacy Margaret’s clients use to fill out their prescriptions. Metro’s amazing staff aid our clients in realizing a greater sense of stability and independence in their lives.

Metro’s staff is patient, knowledgeable and responsive, so please give stop by and say hello (and don’t forget to tell them Margaret’s sent you)!

Thank you in advance for your time and support!

Jane’s Story

Jane’s Story

Jane’s Story

Margaret’s Success Story

Thank you for your support of Margaret’s Transitional Housing for women. This program provides a safe living space for women with mental health challenges to regain their confidence through stability and community. 

Five years ago, Jane, one of Margaret’s transitional housing clients, came to Canada from China in search of a better life. She had met a Chinese-Canadian family through an international agency who was willing to sponsor her. Unfortunately, like many immigrants who leave home in search of a better life, Jane found herself in an exploitative situation with her sponsor family.

Without a penny to her name and no understanding of the English language, Jane was completely at the mercy of her new family. It quickly became apparent that Jane was the family’s new caregiver. She was a live-in servant, sheltered from making friends and developing a sense of identity in this new country. With no money, no understanding of English, and only the clothes on her back, she finally left this unfortunate living situation. 

Jane ended up in a room and boarding home. However, this facility didn’t provide the support services she needed to get back on her feet. While living there, she was raped and ended up pregnant. After her child was born, the trauma she had experienced left her in rapidly deteriorating mental state. Fragile and vulnerable, CAS took her child and he was put up for adoption. Jane was heartbroken. There was no chance of ever seeing him again.

Still at the boarding house, she was unsafe and needed to be removed from that environment immediately.

This is how Jane ended up at Margaret’s. She was given a crisis bed until other housing arrangements could be made. A bed became available in Margaret’s transitional housing program and Jane was offered the spot. For the first time since arriving to Canada, she felt loved and cared for. There was a community of women who supported her. Margaret’s provided her with the basic knowledge she needed to live on her own.

While at Margaret’s she took classes like English and financial literacy. She was provided with a number of resources and one-on-one support from Margaret’s staff and other clients in the house. Now Jane works for Margaret’s Individualized Senior Support Program as a peer support worker and is happy to have her own source of earned income. 

Margaret’s transitional house for women provides the following supports:

  • rules, routine, independence

  • safety, consistency, overall better quality of life

  • strong sense of community

  • staff driven

  • serves complex needs

Jane still struggles around the loss of her son, but she has overcome immense emotional pain. She has finally established her own life in Canada and her own sense of identity. She feels the love and support from a community of women with similar struggles.

*This client’s name was changed to protect her identity.

Irina’s Story

Irina’s Story

Irina’s Story

Margaret’s Success Story

At Margaret’s your support is everything! Margaret’s staff and volunteers play a special role to ensure your gifts create the biggest impact possible through the supports and services provided to those in need. We are launching a monthly newsletter to communicate just how important heroes like you are to the clients at Margaret’s. Please scroll down to read a story about a client named Irina.

This is a story about a client name Irina, who is still healing, but has overcome unimaginable obstacles thanks to the hope and support you provide.

Irina suffered from mental health challenges for many years and for the majority of this time, she was unaware of the severity of her condition and undiagnosed. Broken down by the turbulent and abusive relationship she had with her husband at the time, she didn’t know how to cope with her own behaviour let alone escape the abusive grip of her husband.

Eventually, Irina was able to leave the relationship but in doing so, she suffered the heartbreak of losing custody of her son. Unfortunately, her young son was caught in the middle of the family chaos. Children’s Aid Society (CAS) intervened and took her son into their care.

This is the situation she found herself in when she first arrived at Margaret’s transitional housing for women. She was first referred to Margaret’s by an organization that works with women escaping from domestic violence and because she suffered from mental health challenges, we were able to accommodate Irina.

Quiet and withdrawn, depressed from the loss of her son, and unable to properly care for herself, Irina was in a dark place. She needed a safe place to stay to get back on her feet and re-discover her own value.

She also needed the stability and support to try and get her son back – this was her main goal. He was the light of her life. Despite all of the challenges she’d been through and the mistakes she’d made, she was a good mother who cared deeply about her son.

After spending a year at Margaret’s transitional housing for women, Irina felt confident enough and secure enough to move into an apartment building subsidized by Margaret’s. This was one of Margaret’s congregate living spaces in which she shared the apartment with 4 other individuals who were also Margaret’s clients.

Irina was in a good place and she desperately wanted to spend more time with her son. All she was eligible for was supervised visitation at the CAS location. This was a sterile environment, with white walls and harsh lighting, not an environment that facilitated the growth of a mother and son relationship.

Margaret’s advocated on behalf of Irina and negotiated with CAS to allow the supervised visits to take place at her congregate living apartment. This was a HUGE breakthrough allowing Irina to build the bond she was longing to have with her son. She could finally buy him toys to keep at her place, make his favourite meals, and watch movies with him on her own couch. Eventually, because these visits went so well, CAS allowed her son to stay overnight. 

Their relationship continues to grow stronger every day. Her son, who is now an adult and has an apartment of his own, will often reciprocate the invite. She makes a point to visit him on a weekly basis and always brings a large casserole. 

Because of the generous support of people like you, Margaret’s was able to advocate on Irina’s behalf to allow for supervised visits at her apartment. Thank you for providing mothers, like Irina, the stability, and confidence to get back on their feet and reconnect with their children. This mother and son have a beautiful and loving bond that might not exist today if it wasn’t for your support.

*story remains the same but the name of the subject has been changed to protect her identity.

B Corporations are coming together as a force for good in Toronto

B Corporations are coming together as a force for good in Toronto

B in Action Toronto

B Corporations are Coming Together as a Force for Good in Toronto

“B in Action” is a community project created to demonstrate what happens when businesses focused on the triple bottom line (People, Planet & Profit ) come together in support of a good cause. Certified B Corporations, startups and pending B Corps were invited to do good by donating products and funds to support a local charitable organization.

Toronto, October 02, 2017 – Diane Walter, Executive Director of Margaret’s Housing & Community Support Services (Margaret’s) is thrilled to accept product donations collected at 555 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7 (Paintbox Catering & Bistro) on October 2nd, 2017. The event will start at 12:30 pm and ends at 2:00 pm.

On October 3rd to 5th of this year, more than 500 Leaders of the Certified B Corporations will gather in Toronto, Canada for the 2017 Champions Retreat and celebrate 10 years milestone as a powerful global community of practice on servant leadership, collective action, and impact. This is the first time the Champions Retreat is being held in a Canadian city.  B In Action, is a collaborative event in partnership with Leesa and Raw Office to give retreat participants the opportunity to put triple bottom line values into action in Toronto, the host city of this year’s Champion Retreat.  Acting on the theme, “INTERDEPENDENCE”, the global B Corporations Community is invited to act individually, collectively, and with others to make a difference for a local charitable non-profit organization that could really use the help from the force for good.

Housing is health.  At Margaret’s, we believe this is fundamental to women’s well being.  This cannot be more timely; October 2 is the start of Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Hope and recovery are our core messages to raise awareness on the intersections between homelessness, mental illnesses and health.  Project like ‘B in Action’ is one of the answers to our community struggles. When businesses come together as a force for good, change becomes possible.  B Corps are the Champions of Change indeed.  We are grateful for the leadership put forth by Francis Yap, Jeff Golfman (Founder of Raw Office) and Jen-Al Notman (Head of Social Impact, Leesa Sleep) on this project, as well as everyone that have made a contribution.

Diane Walter

Executive Director

The force for good contributed the following products and services (estimated at $177,150.00 in retail values) for the inaugural “B IN ACTION” Toronto event in support of Margaret’s:

Leesa – 200 mattresses

Raw Office – 1,400 rolls of 100% recycled toilet paper and paper towel

Mission Informatics (MI) –  Branding & graphic design

Ramp Media – Social media strategy

Paintbox Catering & Bistro – Venue space

Lunapads – 300 rewashable Lunapads

Dogeared – 50 necklaces

BDC (Business Development Canada) – Event Catering

Tableau Filtered Water – Warehouse space

Ian Martin Group – 10 tuques, 5 blankets, and 10 pairs of wool socks

W.S. Badger Company – 200 lip balms

Kind Bars – 360 Kind Bars

Genuine Health – 200 Health bars

Corporate Knights – 30 bars of soap

Oliberte – 4 pairs of baby shoes

DoseBiome Inc. – 408 bottles happy mouthwash

Patagonia – 2 backpacks

To find out more about B Corporation. visit https:

For making a difference in one of Margaret’s programs and services, please visit https:

Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent

Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent

Music Reduces Stress

Neuroscience Says Listening to this Song Reduces Anxiety by up to 65%

Anxiety — that feeling of dread, fear, worry and panic — is certainly nothing new. Hippocrates wrote about it in the fourth century BCE. As did Søren Kierkegaard in the 1860s. And Sigmund Freud addressed the disorder in 1926. However, jump to the present and we’re seeing a significant uptick — especially with youth.

Pharmaceutical drugs tend to be the classic treatment for treating anxiety. Cognitive therapy is a common approach as well. Those with a holistic bent often turn to meditation, yoga, massage and other relaxation techniques. Music therapy has also been used with some success. But now neuroscientists in the U.K. have zeroed in on a single song that results in a dramatic 65 percent reduction in overall anxiety…

Anxiety and Generation Y

A 2013 survey found that 57 percent of American female university students reported episodes of “overwhelming anxiety.” And in the United Kingdom, the charity YouthNet discovered a third of young women — and one in ten young men — suffer from panic attacks.

Marjorie Wallace, CEO of the charity Sane, believes that Generation Y (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) is the age of desperation. “Growing up has always been difficult, but this sense of desperation? That’s new,” she says.

So, what’s going on? The rise of technology, overly-protective parenting, and “exam-factory” schooling are among the reasons psychologists suggest for our generational angst. Another brought up on multiple occasions by my peers and by psychologists I spoke to, is the luxury (as ungrateful as it sounds) of too much choice.

Rachael Dove

Anxiety: the epidemic sweeping through Generation Y

Pieter Kruger, a London-based psychologist, says research indicates that people who feel they don’t have a choice are actually more resilient — mainly because they can blame life or others if they make a wrong decision. However, if you have a range of choices, you have no one to blame but yourself. “We become much more obsessive because we want to make the right decision every time,” he says.

I spend a lot of time worrying about what I am going to do with my life. Previous generations had the choice taken out of their hands. If you are told what to do it takes the pressure away.

Claire Eastham

Blog - We Are All Mad Here

In our modern era, decision making can trigger a type of paralysis. Often, we will obsessively research the many different options for, say, a pair of shoes. Eventually, information overload will kick in and shut the whole shopping venture down, leaving us exhausted and guilty for being crippled by such a seemingly simple task.

Technology also contributes to the rise of anxiety. A good number of millennials feel exposed without their smartphones — and are rarely without them. Mobile gadgets tend to be their window to the world and foster a sense of connectedness. But there’s a dark side to feeling the need to keep on top of what everyone is doing on social media — otherwise known as Fomo, or the Fear of Missing Out. “Fomo is very real and can be a constant addiction that affects anxiety levels and a general sense of wellbeing,” says Kruger.

Social media allows us to compare everything — relationships, diet, figure, beauty, wealth, standard of living — not only with our friends, but with celebrities too. And, as research has shown, time on social media “can cause depression in people who compare themselves with others.”

Besides revamping our lifestyles and limiting exposure to social media — and learning to work with a sometimes overwhelming abundance of choice — neuroscientists have found listening to a specially designed song can have a profound influence over our levels of anxiety.

The Creation of the Ultimate Anti-Stress Music

Researchers at Mindlab International in the U.K. wanted to know what kind of music induces the greatest state of relaxation. The study involved having participants try to solve difficult puzzles — which inherently triggered a certain degree of stress — while connected to sensors. At the same time, participants listened to a range of songs as researchers measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing.

What they found is that one song — “Weightless” — resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

Interestingly, the song was specifically designed to induce this highly relaxed state. Created by Marconi Union, the musicians teamed up with sound therapists to carefully arrange harmonies, rhythms and bass lines, which in turn slow a listener’s heart rate and blood pressure, while also lowering stress hormones like cortisol.

In fact, the music is so effective, that many of the female participants became drowsy — to the point where lead researcher Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson advises against listening to it while driving.

Playlist via YouTube:

10. “We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

9. “Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

8. “Someone Like You,” by Adele

7. “Pure Shores,” by All Saints

6. “Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

5. “Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

4. “Watermark,” by Enya

3. “Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

2. “Electra,” by Airstream

1. “Weightless,” by Marconi Union

Click on below for the free 10-hour version of “Weightless” if you want a longer listening experience.

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