WCA Foundation Host Yoga Classes to Support Mental Health Comfort Rooms

Jamestown, New York (Friday, December 4, 2015)—The WCA Foundation is preparing for a Yoga series on December 10th and 15th  at Noon in the UPMC Chautauqua WCA Auditorium, 207 Foote Ave., Jamestown, that allows individuals to learn breathing techniques that will relax muscles and organs, calm the nervous system, and center the mind. The public is invited to attend the Yoga classes, led by certified Yoga instructor Carrie Harvey.  The proceeds from the classes will fund mental health illness through The Kellie Anne Murphy Memorial Fund to support the Inpatient Mental Health Comfort Rooms at UPMC Chautauqua WCA.  The comfort rooms are a safe-haven for patients struggling from mental health illness.

The cost of the tickets is $12.00 for one Yoga class or $20 for two Yoga classes.  To purchase your ticket, contact Megan D’Angelo, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Director of Development, at (716) 664-8423.  Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day the classes are held.

“Mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease,” says Patricia A. McClennan, MA, NCC, CASAC, WCA Hospital Mental Health Manager, said. “According to the World Health Organization, 25% of individuals develop one or more mental disorders at some stage in life.  Spending time doing something you love doing such as Yoga, reading, or listening to your favorite music, reduces stress, tension, and anxiety in our everyday lives.  We want to encourage our community to step out for a moment from the daily routine of their lives and join us to experience and learn how Yoga techniques can help to temper our anxiety and release our daily physical tension.”

Funds from the event support the Comfort Room at UPMC Chautauqua WCA which was founded by the Murphy Family whose desire was to create a safe-haven for patients who struggle from mental health disorders.  The following is the Murphy family’s story:

Family Turns Tragedy into Gratitude:

In the fall of 2007, at the age of 33, Kellie Anne Murphy moved to Jamestown, New York to begin a new chapter in her life. After struggling with behavioral issues, which began in her late teens, Kellie was diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorders in her early twenties.

Tragically, Kellie took her own life in the spring of 2008. In the days following Kellie’s death, her family resolved that Kellie’s life would be honored and remembered in a positive and affirming manner. Her mother, Jane, knew that she wanted that tribute to somehow make a lasting difference in the lives of other mental health patients.

As Jane considered all those who had cared for and treated Kellie’s mental illness over the years, she determined there was no else who had demonstrated more concern for Kellie’s well- being than UPMC Chautauqua WCA. Because of the impact that UPMC Chautauqua WCA had on Kellie’s life, Jane decided that all gifts donated in Kellie’s memory would support future patients served by the hospital.

Jane contacted Patricia McClennan, Manager of UPMC Chautauqua WCA’s Adult Inpatient Mental Health Unit, because she knew Trish and Kellie had shared a special bond. Jane explained her goals and they discussed options for how to best utilize the gifts received in memory of her daughter. After careful consideration, Jane and Trish agreed upon a plan that would have a significant future impact on patients. Jane was guided throughout this process by remembering comments Kellie had made about her own treatment. Her wish was that there would have been a “quiet and peaceful” place on the Unit – a place where she could think.

A comfort room is a designated space that is designed in a way that is calming to the senses and where the user can experience visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile stimuli. A comfort room is furnished with items that are physically comfortable and pleasing to the senses in order to provide a sanctuary from stress.

The Comfort Rooms of UPMC Chautauqua WCA, located in the Adult and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Jones Memorial Health Center, are used as a refuge for patients to teach individuals calming techniques that decrease agitation and aggressive behavior. The goal is to develop practical skills that can be used in inpatient settings and upon discharge from care. The room features a series of unique sensory experiences that calm patients and enable them to better communicate and interact with others including, yoga mats, stereo with ipod access, rocking chair, recliner, squishy balls, floor puzzles, lego sets for wall, mural on walls, low-lighting, books, hand lotion, art supplies, tactile wall art (3D).

“What better way to support those suffering from mental health than with Yoga,” stated Megan D’Angelo, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Director of Development.  “We wanted to come up with a way to get the community’s involvement in a way that they understood what the room would be used for, and that is similar to that of Yoga with techniques used on how to calm the nervous system and center the mind.”

If you are interested in contributing to the Kellie Anne Murphy Memorial Fund, please send your tax-deductible contribution to: W.C.A. Foundation, P.O. Box 214, Jamestown, NY 14702-0214.

If you are interested in creating an endowed fund or making a tax-deductible gift to support a current need at UPMC Chautauqua WCA, please contact Megan D’Angelo, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Director of Development, at (716) 664-8423 or visit www.wcahospital.org.

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