I am a proud member of the Here 24/7 team! Our team is comprised of individuals who have diverse professional backgrounds, strengths and skill-sets. Every day at Here 24/7 is unique, so we always come to work prepared to wear our many “hats” as each phone call, office or community visit requires something different. I’m grateful to be surrounded by my wonderful and supportive colleagues and am proud of the work we do, and am grateful to the individuals we support who allow us into their lives, even if only for a brief time!
#1. What is involved in your role?
As Service Coordinators at Here 24/7, we do a little bit of everything, including: providing support for individuals who are in crisis either over the phone or in person, supporting family members and friends whose loved ones may be experiencing mental health and addictions concerns, and connecting individuals to a variety of support services. Our team primarily connects with folks over the phone but we also meet with people at our offices and have the ability to go mobile into the community when necessary. We conduct various assessments to determine next steps in order to provide individuals with support. We attend schools, people’s homes and go out in the community to meet folks where they are in the moment to come up with a plan as to how we can ensure their safety and meet their needs.
#2. Why did you become involved in Here 24/7?
My past experience has been centered on working with children and youth and their families, so I was looking for an opportunity where I could get more diverse experience working with folks from different populations and of different ages. I have always been interested in mental health and addictions and my previous work experiences have intersected with this field but I had never actually worked in it. I didn’t really know what to expect when I began working with Here 24/7, and at first it was quite daunting because as a Service Coordinator, we have to know about many different systems, legislation, services and processes, but with the help of my supportive colleagues and managers, I have found my Here 24/7 groove.
#3. Have you always worked in mental health?
Prior to beginning my employment with Here 24/7, I completed a graduate studies placement in Children’s Mental Health Services through the CMHA Waterloo Wellington and I was hired at Here 24/7 shortly after my graduation in November 2017. Before that, I had primarily worked in child welfare in a number of different roles, including in children’s service, adoption and investigation. My educational background is in sociology and social work.
#4. How do you support people in Here 24/7?
Here 24/7 is the front door to the CMHA Waterloo Wellington so there are many ways that Service Coordinators support the people we serve. When people call into Here 24/7 or when we go out on a call in the community to meet with someone in crisis, it is our job to figure out what they may need and how we can support them. Sometimes people know what they are looking for or what they need, while other people don’t know and may not even be sure what Here 24/7 does. I typically begin by asking the person I am speaking with what led to their phone call or what has brought them to this moment, and then together we can figure out what it is I can support them with. If it isn’t something that is within my scope, then I make sure to connect them to the professionals or service that can support them. Calls can be supportive in nature, such as someone calling because they are having a panic attack, or they are having suicidal thoughts. I work with the individual to come up with a plan as to how they can be safe for the time being, which could include a loved one coming to see them or using coping strategies. Or if we aren’t able to come up with a plan to keep them safe then we may have to call 911 to take them to the hospital to be assessed. Calls can also be focused on connecting the individual with services, such as counselling, psychiatry, treatment for substance use, or obtaining supportive housing. We also support family members and loved ones of people experiencing mental health and/or addictions concerns so they can support the individual, and so they can ensure they connect with support for themselves. Often times, the call may start out addressing one area or issue and can end up going down a much different path.
#5. What do you enjoy about working at CMHA?
I enjoy the frontline work that we do at Here 24/7, and I feel fortunate to hear and be a part of people’s stories, and to be able get to know the people in our communities. I like being able to work with people to develop and initiate action plans that support their health and well-being. I also enjoy working with an incredibly supportive team of colleagues and managers within the Here 24/7 program, and within the CMHA Waterloo Wellington. I appreciate the opportunities I have to collaborate with my colleagues from other teams around the organization.
#6. What are you particularly proud of during your time at CMHA?
I am proud of the rapport that I am able to build with folks in our communities, especially when I am able to do so in a short amount of time. I feel as though I am able to help people feel comfortable enough to share their story with me so that we can work collaboratively to figure out what supports would be helpful for them, whether it’s supporting them in the moment, or connecting them with long-term supports. I approach every interaction I have with the individuals I support with curiosity, kindness and with the intent to make a positive impact, no matter how big or small.
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