What struck me most about CMHA was the support for innovation and focus on evidence-based practice. Embracing each of these concepts and the dichotomy or tension between them is where I believe we are going to find the answers to tough social problems which is the primary interest of Social Work. It has been such a cool experience to watch people come together united for a common purpose, freely sharing knowledge and experience and being committed to improving mental health care quality together.
1. What is involved in your role?
I am currently working as a Manager of Adult Intensive Services and site facilitator. I support Flexible Assertive Community Treatment teams and 67 King St Kitchener. I think the teams would say they look toward me for support with complicated risk, for information from a systems perspective or an outside objective observation around clinical questions related to client care and all around supporting the health and safety of the site. I also provide a team development and quality function through individual and group support and supervision.
2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
I have a brother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1990. My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996 so I found myself having to get really knowledgeable about how to access supports and a desire to deliver supports that put people’s dignity first.
3. What brought you to CMHA?
What struck me most about CMHA was the support for innovation and focus on evidence-based practice. Embracing each of these concepts and the dichotomy or tension between them is where I believe we are going to find the answers to tough social problems which is the primary interest of Social Work. I think it is a unique place where people care a great deal about their work, their community and each other. There is a culture here that can inspire growth and healing.
4. Have you always worked in mental health?
I started my career in commission-based sales and have owned/operated my own business. But the majority of my career has been firmly rooted in mental health recovery. I have worked in various settings (office -based counselling, community outreach, corrections, residential treatment, home based care) across various sectors (Child Protection, Domestic Violence, Addiction and Mental Health).
5. How do you support people at CMHA in your role?
I work in a leadership capacity with interdisciplinary assertive community treatment teams. I provide support to staff and contribute to and provide oversight for treatment planning. I think my varied work experiences have prepared me well for my current position. I have a perpetual curiosity and have learned to think critically and creatively which allows me to assist in addressing tough questions, situations and dilemmas faced by front line clinicians as well as the people we support.
6. What are you proud of during your time at CMHA?
I am most proud of the success and development of the FACT model and more importantly the Team Spirit that built and advances it. I have been beyond excited witnessing and participating in FACT as an international reform movement! Through this work I have had the pleasure celebrating the success and growth of amazing staff as they challenge themselves and each other to learn, grow, adopt and FORM this model to address the needs of our community. As if that wasn’t exciting enough… we have had the opportunity to share our learning so that other teams across our region, the province and the country can also form the model for their communities. I have had the great honour and opportunity to connect with people across North America and Europe who are tackling the same social problems as CMHAWW which has been so validating. I have also been able to learn from them and how they tackle their unique challenges with the resources available to them. It has been such a cool experience to watch people come together united for a common purpose, freely sharing knowledge and experience and being committed to improving mental health care quality together.
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.