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Nov 7, 2023
1. What is involved in your role?
I work on the Flexible Assertive Treatment Team in Guelph as a Support Coordinator. The FACTT team allows me the flexibility of supporting individuals who have significant/complex mental health needs and sometimes substance use struggles. I work within a multidiscipline team which meets every morning for an hour to share/update/problem solve around the treatment care of our clients. One of the best parts of my job as a support coordinator is the wide array of supports, I can assist with. This role is often the starting point for being the prime worker and can include support around housing, medication management, applying for financial supports, legal supports, assisting with accessing/advocating around services, providing ideas for meaningful activities/employment and the list goes on. The variety of disciplines on our team and the different lenses allows for a strong and varied approach to client care.
2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
Initially I was torn between teaching and some form of community support. Mental health always interested me, the medications, diagnosis, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders); and the changes/advancements in this field. There was stigma and a lack of understanding attached to mental health, so I decided I wanted to pursue this field. It would give me a chance to support/change, challenge and advocate on the front lines.
3. Have you always worked in mental health?
I have not always worked in this field, but I did attend the University of Waterloo and received a 4-year degree in English and Social Development Studies. My first jobs were at St. Joseph’s in Guelph as a Health Care Aid and supply teaching for 4 years in Guelph and Orangeville. WOW I even earned a Teacher’s Pension of $75.00 or a bit more when I retire. I worked in Orangeville at the VON Alzheimer Day Program and then worked at CMHA Self Help. After 3 years in a peer support program, I was so fortunate to land a job as a Support Coordinator for CMHA.
4. How do you support people in your role?
The FACTT program serves a variety of ages and stages. I enjoy building rapport with my clients, acknowledging our commonalities and earning their trust. The flexibility in my job allows me variety and still some control of my day. I strive to work alongside my clients, being inclusive and encouraging their growth in independence. Each client has a prime worker, but we also rely on the skills/expertise of the entire team and their disciplines. I enjoy thinking “outside the box” and harnessing my neurodiverse skills in supporting our clients.
5. What are you proud of during your time in your role?
I am proud of my 24 years at CMHA and have enjoyed the role of support coordinator as it is always changing. I have had the pleasure of working at the Orangeville CMHA office where the front steps were angled in a converging manner and my desk looked like a student dorm built in. Downtown Guelph years at 147 Wyndham were great due to being in the heart of the city and lunchtime bonding was so popular that we had to bring chairs in from the boardroom. I was then chosen to represent CMHA at GCHC when we were creating a hub of services, but this was soon disbanded due to Covid. I now work out of our main office in Guelph. I am proud of my years of service, my continued enthusiasm, my passion for 2SLGBT+ issues/invisible disabilities and a deep loyalty to the agency. I enjoy my team, our leadership and the autonomy I have in my work. I love the décor that I added to my office and have a special appreciation for my office mate who is so attentive.
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.