Ray Gupta, Chairman and CEO of Sunray Group and member of the Scarborough Health Network Foundation’s Board of Directors

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is proud to join organizations across the country in recognizing Canadian Mental Health Week from May 1-7.

Each year, one in five Canadians experience a mental illness or need mental health support. With SHN’s recent announcement on the upcoming launch of our new Community Mental Health Centre, this year for Mental Health Week, we are shining a light on mental health care in the community. We spoke with providers, partners and patrons from SHN and across Scarborough to discuss the many facets of community-based mental health care and services. They each brought their own lens and perspectives that we are proud to share in our three-part Q&A series.

The new Community Mental Health Centre is funded 100% by donor dollars and demonstrates the collective impact fundraising can have on healthcare in Scarborough. Ray Gupta is one of these incredible individuals, and not only is he a donor, but he is also a member of SHN Foundation’s Board of Directors and the letter ‘F’ in the Love, Scarborough campaign for “First-generation Canadian”.

Ray came to Canada in 1976, and recalls Scarborough as a vibrant new community with new homes, new people, and new opportunities. In 1979, after working a few different jobs in the area, he opened a gift shop – the first of many business ventures he had in Scarborough. Ray had both of his sons at SHN’s General Hospital, and the care they provided left a lasting impression. It was this exceptional quality care that inspired him to give back to the community that gave him so much, and he joined SHN Foundation’s Board of Directors and made a donation to support the new Community Mental Health Centre.

Can you tell us why you felt it was important to support mental health in Scarborough?

My son is a physician, and we talk about mental health a lot, especially during COVID-19. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen people close to us deal with the difficulties that come with mental illness, and realized there aren’t always the best supports for them. We also realized that you never know if someone is dealing with these challenges and it’s important to talk about it – that’s why I wanted to be part of continuing to build up mental health services located within the community, which helps to remove barriers. That’s why I wanted to support the new SHN Community Mental Health Centre.

What do you hope the new Community Mental Health Centre does for Scarborough and our patients?

I really hope it helps the entire community and demonstrates that mental health is important. It’s a huge step forward for increasing access to services and also reducing the stigma around seeking help for mental health. I believe so many people can utilize these services and I trust SHN wholeheartedly to be able to care for the mental health of our Scarborough community.

How do you feel about all the support for the Community Mental Health Centre – including your incredible donation?

It’s a great feeling when people come together and take on something this big and this important. To me it represents the Scarborough spirit – people coming together and doing whatever they can to help their neighbours and their community. We can accomplish anything together and it’s so fulfilling to be able to help SHN Foundation reach their fundraising goal to make this a reality for Scarborough. When community comes together, we can do far greater things than we ever could alone.

As a donor and a Board member, it gives me great fulfillment to see these incredible projects get off the ground. To see how far we have come, and the hard work everyone at SHN is doing for Scarborough, makes me incredibly excited and happy. I’m proud to be part of this organization, and look forward to the impact the Community Mental Health Centre will have on the well-being of this community I love so much.

To learn more about how you can make an impact through giving, visit SHNFoundation.ca.