​The Olympic spirit has touched all corners of UHN this summer – Lyndhurst hosted a games for rehab patients, Dr. Gaetan Tardif, our Physiatrist-in-Chief, is the Chef de Mission for the Canadian Paralympic Team, and Psychiatry recently hosted a unique two-week program on the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit at TGH.

Psychiatry Olympics1.jpgThe psychiatry program was a great success. Rather than focusing only on the athletic portion of the Olympics, the patients engaged in programs that encompassed all aspects of the Games – athletics, arts, culture, "Finding your inner Olympian" and ceremonial components.

The action was non-stop, beginning with an Opening Ceremonies where patients created a team name, cheer and flag, through to Closing Ceremonies at Queen's Park, with a picnic, lawn sports, and medals ceremonies.

"Attending the Closing Ceremonies at Queen's Park was my favourite day in a long time," said one patient after the Games.

Psychiatry Olympics2.jpgPatients engaged in community reintegration through outings to the AGO and a Blue Jays Game, where they were able to explore community resources and use social interaction skills. Patients explored their own cultures, as well as those of other patients, by cooking a cultural dish, attending a reminiscing session, and examining the dynamic cultures that gather for the Olympic Games.

"As an upcoming graduate, the memories of playing badminton, frisbee and volleyball with patients will stay with me long into my career," says Kyla Ciszek, Recreation Therapy student.

The Finding your Inner Olympian programs allowed patients to identify with strengths and characteristics of Olympians. Patients also explored and discussed their experiences with the stigma of mental health, while listening to the stories of Olympians who live with mental illnesses.

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