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Faces of CMHA WW: Keshia, Support Coordinator Children Services


1.What is involved in your role?

I am a Support Coordinator within Children Services, supporting North and Centre Wellington. My role involves case management/service coordination for children, youth and their families/caregivers who need support in coordination of their care within CMHA and external community partners. Internal support may be accessing psychiatry, counselling and treatment, family support and crisis support. External support could be accompanying families to access resources to address the health/basic need (social determinants of health) of their family. Support Coordination also involves collaboration with community agencies, schools, and internal support.

2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?

I am a strong believer that you need to have one person to go the extra mile for you- I try to provide that to the families I work with. When they look back years from now, they aren’t going to remember the small stuff, they will recall how they felt supported during a complicated time within their lives. I have learnt over the years that it’s very important to support families/caregivers, by asking them what they need/want- not by telling them what they need/want.

3. Have you always worked in mental health?

I started my career in developmental services at Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services. I worked with childcare centres and supported developmental-behavioural concerns. My very first employment opportunity was at Workside Early Childhood Education Centre at Homewood Health Centre. At a young age I knew that I wanted a career dedicated to helping others thrive to their fullest potential, I just didn’t really know what that would look like- and I still don’t. I have worked in 5 different positions at CMHA, not one alike!

4. How do you support people in your role?

Support Coordination helps children/ youth (2-18 years of age) and their parents/caregiver’s access and coordinate resources and community opportunities that will support the mental health and daily living of children/youth. Support Coordination also helps parents/ caregivers access resources to address social determinants of health for themselves and family. In the beginning the referral may be for a 14 yr. old youth, however, after meeting with the families it could be determined that support could benefit another sibling in the home, and the caregiver to access their own support. I typically begin a referral by meeting with a family and completing what I like to call a ‘Care Map”. This will support my role in having an enhanced understanding of where/what the family had for services, and what is missing. I proceed in developing service goals from the information in the care map and commence to support them in reaching that goal.

I often tell the families and caregivers that I work with, “picture us both in a car. You will be the one driving and I will be your passenger. When the car needs to make a turn, I will be there. When the car needs to drive faster, I will be there. When the car has run out of gas, I will be there. You have control of where we will go, and I will be there to support you”. It makes a difference when individuals do not feel alone during the hard times; my hope is to follow families during the hard times and make them feel that they are not alone on their journey- everyone has a story.

5. What are you proud of during your time in your role?

I have been provided many opportunities to grow my career as a support coordinator, and this has rippled into me as a person. This role allows me to meet youth, families, and service partners in the North and Centre Wellington and learn from each referral that comes my way. I am proud of the team that I sit on, and the support I receive from my manager. I am a strong believer that your coworkers become a special part of who you are, and what you can take on. With my team, it helps the heavier days feel lighter.

If you are in crisis or wish to discuss whether CMHA WW 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.

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