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Mississauga hospital program teaches patients how to cope with distress

Click to play video: 'Trillium program teaches patients how to cope with anxiety, depression' Trillium program teaches patients how to cope with anxiety, depression
WATCH ABOVE: After years of coping with anxiety, depression and a severe panic attack that temporarily blinded him, Michael Halas reached for help and now he’s sharing his story of survival. Susan Hay has the story – Feb 24, 2020

Michael Halas is a father of two wonderful daughters, a husband to an amazing wife and was a thriving solution architect.

Though Michael had a lot to be thankful for, he was dealing with severe anxiety and depression that brought his entire life to a standstill.

“It’s difficult to remember how dysfunctional I was. It’s difficult to remember how much pain I was going through, but I find it easy to use that pain and move forward,” explained Halas.

He was living with severe panic attacks which lead him into temporary blindness. That’s when Halas ultimately decided to reach out for help with Trillium Health Partners.

READ MORE: Panic attacks at work can feel ‘nauseous and suffocating’ — here’s how to manage them

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It was in the partial hospitalization program at Credit Valley Hospital where he met Cheryl Murphy, a social worker he worked closely with for two months.

Cheryl described the first time she met Halas.

“I remember his pain. I remember him feeling like he was near the end and this was the last chance. He was reaching for something to keep him alive,” she said.

The partial hospitalization program is an eight-week program at 25 hours a week. The program is designed for people who are acute, and there are concerns for their safety.

Murphy has worked in the program for three years.

The program provides outpatients with tools like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy and principals to help guide them into recovery.

“The program here is amazing. The tools that I found most impactful were mindfulness tools,” said Halas.

Halas described Murphy as a wonderful person that he met at the right time.

“She was the person that encouraged me in a way that meant so much. She was the person that also kicked me when I needed to work a little harder and I just I adore her,” he said.

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When Halas was asked if he thought he would be sitting here today, he was direct.

“No, no, I wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t be in this world,” he said.

The eighth annual Laugh Out Loud Gala in support of Trillium Health Partners on Saturday at the Toronto Congress Centre. To date, the event has raised more than $11 million.

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