Children and youth are supported through a compassionate, non-judgmental lens, where they are provided with supportive listening, validation, and somebody to bear witness for them in their experiences. We work together as a team to identify barriers, build on strengths, and also help families gain insight and attunement for a holistic approach. I am proud of my children, youth, and families who continue to show up and strive for wellness despite every obstacle – they are inspiring.
1. What is involved in your role?
As a Child and Adolescent Crisis Worker, I function under the umbrellas of both Children’s Services and Here 24/7. My role is to provide assessment, intervention, supportive care, and service navigation to children and adolescents who may be experiencing mental health challenges that significantly impact their functioning and/or lead to elevated risk concerns. I provide urgent follow up where the need arises, whether that is following discharge from hospital, within the school setting, referred by family, or other care providers such as physicians, police services, or community supports. Children and their families are supported in both determining and accessing appropriate services, and are provided with interim support to help maintain safety and optimize wellbeing until ongoing services can be established through a respectful transition that honours their experience.
2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
I’ve gravitated to caregiving roles from a very young age, whether with people or animals, and even won an award way (read: waaaaaaay) back in elementary school for contributions to my community, which only served to fuel my passion further. I’ve always had an interest in seeking to understand others and wanted a career that would provide purpose and fulfillment, while also leaving a positive footprint. Very few families can say they are untouched by mental health, and mine is no different. I wanted to contribute to the growing need, and hope to continue to do so for many years to come.
3. What brought you to CMHA?
In connecting with prior colleagues and other peers in the mental health field, I had heard many positive things about the breadth and depth of work being done at CMHA. When the opportunity presented itself, I applied, crossed my fingers, and hoped for a chance to work with a fabulous team – I got that, and more!
4. Have you always worked in mental health?
The majority of my post-secondary work has been in the mental health field, though I also worked in residential care, child protection, and foster support services prior to my role at CMHA.
5. How do you support people at CMHA in your role?
Children and youth are supported through a compassionate, non-judgmental lens, where they are provided with supportive listening, validation, and somebody to bear witness for them in their experiences. We work together as a team to identify barriers, build on strengths, and also help families gain insight and attunement for a holistic approach. Much of our ‘hands-on’ work involves developing and implementing plans to maintain safety, building on coping skills and strategies, preparatory work prior to entering ongoing services, and advocacy around unmet needs. I am lucky enough to work with a broad network of passionate and skilled mental health workers, both in our community and beyond, that are eager to work collaboratively in the best interest of our youth, allowing us to wrap-around individuals in need.
6. What are you proud of during your time at CMHA?
I am proud of the team that I am lucky enough to work with – the extent of their knowledge and willingness to share it astounds me. And I am proud of the opportunities I have had while working at CMHA; continued growth and learning, support and grace through the challenging times, and the chance to share my knowledge and experience with other service providers in our community – I am fortunate to both give and receive in my work. I am proud of my children, youth, and families who continue to show up and strive for wellness despite every obstacle – they are inspiring.
If you are in crisis or wish to discuss whether CMHA has the right service for you, call Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE 247).
Follow the ‘Faces of CMHA’ series for a glimpse into the lives of the people who spend each day at the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington working to inspire and support people to achieve the quality of life they desire. Join our team, click here to view current employment opportunities at CMHA WW.