What is your role within COAST?
I am one of the CMHA Elgin-Middlesex representatives on the COAST teams, where I support in risk assessment, intervention/de-escalation and rapid connection to community resources according to identified immediate needs.
Tell us about your career – how long you have been in your profession and/or with your current organization?
I have been with WOTCH community services since 2012 and then became part of CMHA Elgin Middlesex when mental health organizations amalgamated. I’ve been privileged to have been part of different programs and teams throughout my career with CMHA Elgin Middlesex – I’ve learned so much! With support from my colleagues and mentors within the agency, I was able to become part of the Crisis Assessment Team as a registered social worker. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them!
What interested you about working on the COAST team? What benefits do you hope this program will provide to the community and to vulnerable populations?
I have always been fascinated with the strength of teamwork and the COAST team eludes the same value; a team made up of various specialities come together to provide an enhanced quality of care to the public. In addition, the “grass-root” approach to care is incredibly valued within marginalized populations since it diminishes the power-difference between participant and service-provider and deconstructs mental health stigma. This program definitely has potential for creating a stronger sense of connection, community and safety by simply offering space to understand a person’s situation.
What do you do to support your own mental health and wellness?
I do my best to implement community, connection and safety even within my personal life such as building a community amongst my coworkers, maintaining connection with family/friends and fostering safety by honoring my needs/boundaries. Sometimes its not easy, that’s for sure! But I cannot be more thankful for the people in my life who also hold these values and help nudge me in the right direction.