Receiving mental health supports at the right place at the right time are key to recovery. This is why a partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis is so impactful. Since March 2019, thanks to funds raised through The Shopper’s Run for Women a CMHA WW Mental Health Clinician is able to work out of G-W WIC’s Marianne’s Place shelter one day a week.
“I believe that having a mental health clinician is an amazing resource within Marianne’s Place. I have a very difficult time trusting people and the clinician made sure to let me adjust on my own terms in my own time. She was a very active listener, extremely patient and very helpful. She always offered many resources. I think every woman who enters the home should have a chance to meet with a clinician because it was the best thing that I could have done in my own life. I still use coping skills that I learned when I was a resident at Marianne’s Place,” says a former resident of Marianne’s Place.
This free, easy to access mental health service is important to help with the healing after experiencing trauma from domestic violence, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as human trafficking. The open communication between Women in Crisis staff and the CMHA WW Clinician provides better mental health supports for residents.
“Having mental health counselling services in the shelter has created an ease of accessibility for women staying at the shelter. Many women find it less intimidating to connect with the counsellor and are more likely to return for ongoing support. Additionally, as women find benefit in their experiences, they share this with the other women staying in the shelter. This word of mouth encourages others to also seek out these supports,” says Christine Wilson, Residential Manager of Marianne’s Place
On average, the women who have met with the clinician attend at least three sessions. The clinician is able to build a rapport with residents who have never accessed mental health supports or may have had a bad experience with service providers in the past. Systemic trauma and inherited family trauma are important concerns we are working to address by embedding a mental health clinician in the shelter.
Not only does this service provide benefit directly to the women staying in the shelter, the impact on the children is also critical. “Children’s mental health is dependent on the caregiver being a secure base and safe haven for their children. When a parent has experienced trauma, working on their own mental health will assist them in being able to more fully nurture their relationship with their child,” says Mental Health Clinician Michelle Hazlett.
In order for women to continue with mental health supports when they leave the shelter, the clinician helps direct women to service providers locally as well as in different cities. This helps women work on their mental health and work through the trauma they have experienced when they move on from the shelter.
“We are extremely grateful for this critical partnership with CMHA. Mental health supports at our shelter have been incredibly helpful to our clients. This wrap around support provides vital services for families who are experiencing domestic violence,” says Sly Castaldi, Executive Director G-W WIC.
“Because of the incredible partnership CMHA Waterloo Wellington has with Shopper’s Drug Mart, we have been able to broaden our reach in regards to support and treatment for women with complex health issues. By providing clinical support and treatment directly to women living in the shelter, we have been able to bridge a long-standing care gap in our system and in our community. We have been able to respond to what women need, when they need it, in a place where they feel safe. We value this partnership with Women In Crisis – it is only possible because of the generous funds that have been provided by Shoppers”, says Helen Fishburn, Executive Director of the CMHA Waterloo Wellington.
Sign up at www.runforwomen.ca.