The roots of Hoame run deep. Over a decade ago founders Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta began sowing the seeds of what would eventually grow into Hoame.
Both founders studied psychology at university and went on to postgraduate training in mental health and addictions. When they first met they quickly realized they shared an uncanny similar passion for helping others. They both followed this passion for continuing education. Carolyn pursued her masters in social work and Stephanie her masters in psychology. Ever the eternal students their thirst for knowledge had them also obtaining numerous other credentials along the way.
Professionally, they both worked clinical roles in a variety of hospital, academic and community settings. Carolyn worked primarily as an emergency room psychiatric clinician and Stephanie worked in community mental health both at the ground and policy levels. They also both went on to accept several faculty teaching appointments and felt most at home in a lecture hall with their students.
Despite their individual achievements, they knew they could accomplish much more together. They officially decided to join forces and began teaching mental health and wellness workshops to public and corporate clients alike. They also launched a private clinical psychotherapy practice – with Carolyn focusing on children and adolescents and Stephanie focusing on young adults.
What was the inspiration behind Hoame?
We have been mental health clinicians and registered psychotherapists for over a decade, and have used meditation and yoga practices clinically for years. We saw the hundreds of thousands of studies linking meditation to decreased stress, anxiety, increased focus, productivity, and a whole slew of physical health benefits and wanted to bring meditation mainstream. This wasn’t being done in Toronto in a big way and we wanted to make meditation accessible, and exciting for Torontonians.
What sets Hoame apart from other meditation studios?
First and foremost, our clinical background, because of our extensive clinical and research experience we have woven science and technology into every room. We have created the rooms to be as stress-reducing as possible, through the immersive touches, our signature scent, signature tea, and apoptogenic charcoal lemonade on tap. We also created a discover room, which is a space to hold our extensive programming, hoame is not just a meditation studio, it is a health and wellness hub and our workshops, fireside chats, and events all reflect that.
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about mental health awareness. More and more organizations are supporting the cause. Do you believe that there’s been an increase in people who have mental health issues? What do you believe is the cause?
This is a complicated issue that requires larger discussion, what we do know for sure, is that stigma of mental illness is decreasing, and more people are talking about their experiences, which is amazing! There are many causes exacerbating mental health, our non-stop plugged in society, social media, parenting styles, challenges for this generation, lack of sleep, lifestyle factors, are all correlated with mental health issues.
Today, people are more open to talking about mental health issues compared to just a few years ago. In your expert opinion, why do you think that is?
While we don’t want to generalize, as there are still many people who are uncomfortable discussing their mental health challenges, what we are observing are the many social campaigns, influencers, and companies who are creating a safe space for people to talk about their mental health.
What are the benefits of Hoame on mental health issues?
Research tells us that there are numerous benefits of meditation and mindfulness practice on mental health – including decreased anxiety, improved mood, better quality of sleep among others. These benefits can also be enhanced when shared among other like individuals – such as in the class environment provided at hoame. We also know that there is power in connection. In fact, one of the most significant predictors of longevity and quality of life is our relationship with other people. It was incredibly important to us to create an environment where people would feel comfortable and safe – a place where connection and community were central to the experience.
Do you believe that constant meditation can help people who are struggling with mental health issues?
Yes, research shows that with regular and consistent practice, you are more likely to reap the benefits of meditation as a method to reduce or alleviate symptoms of mental health issues.
What are the main health and business benefits of meditation, Himalayan salt and infrared sauna technologies on both the body and mind?
The benefits of meditation are numerous, it is often said the benefits of meditation span from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes and everything in between. Professionally, meditation can increase productivity, drive, and focus, all great things for our careers!
The Himalayan salt cave and infrared saunas were two additional experiences that both have numerous health benefits, and were added to space as a way to create an optimal “hoame” for relaxation and rejuvenation.
How has your past experience helped you in your current role?
We always say that we remain clinicians and educators first, as we are both still practicing clinically and teaching at a number of universities and colleges. Our clinical experience truly informed the creation, and curation of the space, and as we keep an eye on current research, informs our ongoing programming and our growth strategy.
What is the best advice you can give to someone who is struggling with mental health issues?
Talk about it! It doesn’t have to be to a professional, but you need to get it out of you! So often we see clinically, that just talking to someone and sharing your burdens with someone, immensely helps.
Would you say that there are a lot of business owners who suffer from mental health?
There aren’t any studies showcasing a direct link between being a business owner and mental health issues, however, what we do know, is that stress is a major contributing factor for mental illness, and we know how stressful running a business can be! On the flip side, however, is that being a business owner, can allow for flexibility in your day and autonomy in your day to take care of your well-being, and also allow you to live your passion.
In your expert opinion, what would you say is the main cause of people who are suffering from mental health?
There is no one single cause for mental health issues, in our field we say it is a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social factors.
On a final note, what inspired you to go into this line of business?
We became clinicians as we had a desire to help others to overcome obstacles, and support people through their darkest days, and over the last decade have had the privilege to meet and support many people. Our current health system, unfortunately, is quite reactionary in nature, we only see people once they have reached their breaking point, and with hoame, we aspire to create a culture of prevention, where we take care of our brains and mental health as well as we take care of our physical health, to prevent people from reaching that point