Like any organizations, Laing House started because of a need. Rosemary and Keith Hamilton knew something was wrong with their son. His behaviour had changed, and he was isolating himself from his friends and family.
The medical community made the correct diagnosis and provided appropriate pharmaceutical treatment, but that was as far as the health care system went. Social isolation was still a problem.
While the Hamiltons were struggling to help their child, Rosemary’s mother, Norah Laing, passed away and left a generous bequest. They knew what they needed to do.
The Hamiltons started talking to the community about what was lacking in the system. Along with friends and colleagues, they also researched youth-based mental health services across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Through the bequest, the Hamiltons were able to purchase a Victorian House on Barrington Street. Laing House opened the doors in 2001 and became the first youth-based peer support organization in Canada.
For the first two years the Hamiltons fully funded operations. The organization has grown since that time and funding sources now include the United Way, corporations, grants, individual donations and our signature special event - the Laing House Masquerade Ball.
Without their vision and hard work, youth with mental illness would not have a place to find supportive peers. And they also would not be able to benefit from programs like education and employment, art, meals, camping and more.
Fortunately now when other youth need help, Laing House is there.