Pass the Hat to create more access for mental healthcare


Local non-profit empowers industry leaders to join Pass the Hat

In any given year, one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. In honour of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, Hats On For Awareness, a Vaughan-based non-profit organization, encourages businesses to “pass the hat” to create substantial impacts for mental health care.

Pass The Hat is a campaign designed to empower industry leaders, in the construction, development, design and trades industries to create conversations about mental health care and have fun. While creating conversations about mental health in the workplace, this campaign intends to share activations, games and information, alongside team-based fundraising.

“Our team of volunteers are excited to interact with such a diverse business community in the Greater Toronto Area, and to create important conversations about accessing mental health care services in our communities,” says Benny Caringi, president and co-founder of Hats On For Awareness.

Hats On For Awareness is a predominantly volunteer run organization aiming to raise funds to further the reach of mental health programs in the Greater Toronto Area. Since the organization’s inception in 2009, Hats On For Awareness has distributed a total of $1.3 million to local mental health and wellness programs. In 2023, Hats On continues to fund local programs for children and youth, including and Humber River Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic.

Caringi adds, “At Hats On, we believe that access to mental health services are a right, not a privilege. Yet access to services is one of the most significant barriers to getting help.”

Unfortunately, wait times for programs and services are long, and show no sign of getting shorter. According to the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, in the province of Ontario, average wait times for children and youth are 67 days for counselling and therapy, and up to 92 days for intensive treatment. Access to these services differs based on geographical area; in some areas, children and youth are able to access services almost immediately, while in others, wait times can be up to 2.5 years.

Sign up a team for #PassTheHat2023

Are you interested in learning more about the Pass The Hat Challenge? Visit or email our campaign coordinator at

Donations are welcomed now throughout Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 at this landing page:

Follow along on social media with the hashtag #PassTheHat2023

About Hats On For Awareness

Hats On For Awareness raises funds to further the reach of mental health programs which enhance the lives of those living with and affected by mental illness and addictions.

We believe that mental health is a vital component to overall wellness, and we need to make it a priority in our personal, business and community lives. We need to raise awareness regarding these illnesses, consistently battle against the stigma they hold, and fund the research and programs to truly achieve mental wellness for all.

Benny Cairingi

Benny Cairingi, president and co-founder, Hats On For Awareness