Therapy centre looking for more support from new mayor

More funding and reduced therapy fees sought

Full Circle art therapy
East-end art therapy centre Full Circle helps people with mental health issues, but it needs more resources to deal with a growing problem, founders say. (Photo courtesy Full Circle) 

Full Circle is trying to help people with mental health issues with the resources the art therapy centre has.

But the east-end centre needs more if they are to deal with the growing problem, Full Circle’s founders say.

They hope to see more support and more funding with the upcoming change in the mayor’s office, say Ashtyn Ford and Pearl Lee.

The Full Circle centre at 658 Danforth Ave. was founded by Ford and Lee, after they graduated from the Toronto Institute of Arts.

Ashtyn Ford (left) and Pearl Lee (right) co-founders of Full Circle, through their experience with mental health they realized people needed more options. (Photo courtesy Full Circle)

Through their experience with mental health they realized the importance of accessibility and diversity in therapeutic options.

“There is a need for people to have something more for mental health services,” Lee said.

While attending York University, Lee’s experience while looking for mental health support left her disappointed, since she would only have access to 12 sessions.

“At 11 sessions I realized, ‘Oh, there are only 12 sessions and I won’t be able to get help anywhere else’,” she said.

She has seen this happen a lot.

Full Circle allows their costumers to express how they feel through art. (Photo courtesy Full Circle)

“Twelve sessions doesn’t actually really do much,” she said. “There are people that are learning to trust.”

She has seen there’s still hesitation in some people over whether or not to trust their mental health provider, even after 12 sessions.

Full Circle, which was founded in 2014, has struggled to find grants for non-profits, as well as grants that cover art therapy.

They tried reaching out to the municipal system, but with little luck.

“It was disappointing,” Lee said.

With the resignation of John Tory, they hope to see a change.

“It might be difficult to express ourselves emotionally and understand why we might be feeling a certain way, or the experience might be difficult to speak about verbally in the beginning. This is when we can turn to the visual arts as a way of expressing those emotions.”

Ashtyn Ford, full circle website blog

“More funding would be good and getting rid of PST for cycle therapy,” Lee said. Problem-Solving Therapy, PST, is a type of therapy session that ranges between four to 12 sessions, which are 40 minutes long.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, one in five Canadians suffer from mental illnesses. Mental illness and substance use disorders account for between 11 and 21 percent of Ontario’s disease burden, but they only receive seven percent of health care dollars.

Unlike other mental health services, Full Circle focuses on allowing people to express their emotions in a way that can be more comfortable and relaxing than others.

Some of their current services include individual art therapy sessions, child and youth art therapy, group art therapy, and creative wellness workshops.

But Lee and Ford want to bring more online courses to grow their revenue and provide low-fee cycle therapy for people who can’t afford it.

About this article

Posted: Mar 28 2023 12:52 pm
Filed under: Mental Health News