Inspired By... Sandi Treliving, Director on the CAMH Foundation Board, Founding Member of womenmind
We have had the great privilege of connecting with Sandi Treliving, Philanthropist, Mental Heath Advocate and Director at CAMH Foundation and Founding Member of womenmind.
As champions of mental health awareness ourselves, we were shocked to learn about the lack of mental health research on the women's mind. We were thrilled to connect with Sandi and her daughter, Kate Borger, for a Mother's Day and Mental Health Week baking Brain Boosting Blueberry Breakfast Cookies and chatting session on IGLive on May 4th (catch the replay here). We were able to sit down with Sandi to get the scoop into what inspired her to start womenmind and what's keeping her positive and motivated right now.
Read our interview with Sandi below.
You became a founding member of CAMH’s womenmind community in 2020, can you take us back to how it began and some of the Why behind it all?
While working with the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH), most recently as a Director with CAMH Foundation Board, I became part of a movement to bring more equity to mental healthcare, to close the gender gap, which will ultimately benefit care and treatment for women facing mental illness, but also to help make space for more senior women researchers and scientists. This is how CAMH womenmind was born—we saw it as an opportunity to help correct these critical issues.
What are things that people might not know about the gender gap in mental health research?
Women are more affected by mental health issues than men. They experience more depression, anxiety and trauma than men, across different countries and settings. More women attempt suicide than men. As well, today’s mental health treatments have been disproportionately tested on men and not equitably studied in women. Health research has been overlooking the biologically and socially influenced problems that are unique to women. Women are also not represented in higher academic leadership roles.
Can you tell us more about the initiatives surrounding womenmind?
Our members connect and engage to help improve the mental health of girls and women by helping women become academic leaders in the field of mental health. womenmind supports the recruitment of new female scientists, cultivates early career start-up and mentoring programs, levels gender bias, and spreads the word globally with research symposiums that champion women working in mental health.
Why is mental health so important to address and what fuels your passion to drive these programs forward?
Mental health is health. And better science and innovation will lead to better women's mental health. It’s as simple as that. When you think about what a healthier sister, daughter, mother—a healthier Canada—can mean, the benefits of womenmind are limitless and far-reaching—economically, socially, environmentally, politically, and beyond.
On a personal note -the last year has had a lot of ups and downs, what is keeping you positive and inspired in your personal life and in the work you are doing with CAMH and womenmind?
There’s an immediate need to get women back on their feet now and emerge from COVID-19 healthy and productive. Care-givers are typically women, whether caring for children, for parents or for another family member. This is what keeps me going with womenmind—a hurdle to jump to get to the other side, back to normal. I know we can do it! And as for me personally, I keep fit, my family keeps me grounded and my husband keeps me laughing.
For more information about womenmind visit camh.ca/womenmind