The Department of Psychiatry and the Mental Health Program is a passionate group of interdisciplinary professionals committed to providing the very best of care to our patients and their families. We are always looking for talented and passionate people to join our team.
For specific career postings, please visit our Careers site.
If you’re curious about the kind of care that each one of us gives on a daily basis, please explore this tour.
Our psychological services are provided by registered clinical psychologists and registered neuropsychologists. Using evidence based interventions, clinical psychologists provide diagnostic evaluation, clinical consultation and psychotherapy (both individual and group) to the Mental Health Program’s outpatient and inpatient populations, specifically in the Eating Disorders Program, Complex Pain Program, and the Mental Health & Wellness Clinic. Neuropsychologists work closely with medical and mental health teams to offer evaluation of cognitive, behavioural, social, and emotional functioning of identified patients. The psychologists also provide supervision and training to psychology students, psychology residents, medical students, and psychiatry residents.
Nutrition plays an important role in mental health treatment and overall optimization of health of both mind and body. Dietitians play a key role on the interdisciplinary team; they assess nutritional needs, provide treatment and monitor progress of the client. As dietary issues arise in relation to health, social and economic factors, the role of the dietitian in Mental Health varies.
In the Eating Disorder Program, dietitians understand that unhealthy habits and perception of food have developed as a symptom of the eating disorder and work with the individual to explore nutrition beliefs, identify barriers to eating, provide basic physiology education, and relay nutrition truths.
Dietitians in the Eating Disorder Program use individual and group settings to work within the individual’s readiness to change. They help to foster curiosity towards change and assist in making small steps towards caring for one’s body in a healthier way. Dietitians understand the road towards greater health and/or recovery may not be smooth and requires mindfulness, self-compassion, and patience. Dietitians are passionate about helping to heal the individual’s relationship with food to allow nourishment for the body and energy for life.
In our Inpatient and Outpatient mental health programs, dietitians work with patients both individually and in groups to assess nutritional needs and interests of clients. Dietitians work with individual patients to adjust their diet in hospital to meet their nutritional requirements and educate them on how to best carry this forward into their everyday lives after discharge. Optimizing nutrition status can help patients feel their best by managing symptoms of a chronic disease or optimizing energy levels and addressing mood and concentration.
In health and nutrition based groups dieticians provide education on various topics such as caffeine, sugar, and eating well on a budget. Cooking group is a favorite group for patients and here they come up with the recipes and shopping lists for their favorite meals or meals they have wanted to try. There is a real sense of camaraderie in this group as patients work together to try new recipes and learn cooking skills.
Here are some common reasons that a dietitian might work with patients in the various mental health programs:
- Minimizing side effects of psychiatric medications
- Managing diabetes or elevated blood sugars
- Heart disease and lipid disorders
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Access to food in the community
- Dietary allergies or intolerances.
- Individual outpatient or inpatient counseling, group education, and community outreach
- Building nutrition skills through assisted meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking
- Assess nutrient needs and design a meal plan suited for the individual
- Monitor weight and exercise and adjust meal plans as appropriate
- Build confidence in eating through supported meals and snacks
- Provide inpatient nasogastric feeds for life-saving cases
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In the acute care environment, physiotherapy intervention focuses on restoring and maximizing physical function which would otherwise prevent the patient from being discharged from the hospital. In collaboration with other members of the interdisciplinary team, the goal is to assist patients to maximize their functional independence and prepare for discharge.
Here are the things we do:
- Identifies patients who have physical limitations and/or an acute exacerbation of a cardio respiratory condition or who are at high risk of developing physical dysfunction as a complication of hospitalization.
- Assesses patient’s physical status, including mobility, range of motion, muscle strength, sensation, pain to identify physical problems which may require physiotherapy intervention.
- Uses findings of assessment to establish the patient’s minimum required level of physical function in order to return to their pre-admission living situation.
- Initiates and evaluates treatment based on the problems identified in the assessment and establishes short and long term goals and specific treatment plans. Under the general direction of the physiotherapist the treatment may be carried out by the Rehabilitation Assistant.
- Provides education to patients, family/caregivers and other team members as required.
- Assesses, prescribes and organizes appropriate equipment/ambulation devices e.g. walkers, canes, crutches, cast boots, to meet the patient’s mobility needs on discharge. Trains the patient and/or family/caregivers in the safe use of mobility equipment.
- Identifies and coordinates the referral of patients to rehabilitation facilities, outpatient physiotherapy, or home care physiotherapy as appropriate.
Music therapy is part of the interdisciplinary team who are focused on engaging patients in a constructive and supportive healing process. For Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, music therapy offers great benefit to participants by providing opportunities for expression through various treatments and interventions facilitated by the music therapist. Music therapy group sessions provide interactive opportunities such as structured improvisations, music-making, lyric analysis and song writing, exploration of instruments, rhythmic grounding exercises, and more.
Some of the benefits of music therapy in mental health include:
- Music-making offers a strong therapeutic element.
- Structured, organized, rhythmic activities provide unifying experiences.
- Increases socialization - Decreases isolation.
- Alleviates anxiety in hospital settings, therapy groups, transitioning to and from community settings.
- Maintains here and now orientation.
- Addresses goals and objectives set by interdisciplinary care team.
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Pastoral care staff is educated at the Master’s level of theology from various religious and cultural traditions as well as being clinically educated through the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. We are professionals who are taught to listen to the movement of the Spirit. Our expertise is grounded in faith in a loving God. As part of the hospital interdisciplinary team, pastoral care is committed to providing a holistic approach to health care incorporating the Body, Mind and Spirit.
The rhythms of life can be wonderful, painful, and mysterious. Pastoral care staff is here to support patients, families, and staff at any time to recognize the rich resources these individuals have within their own spirit in the depths of pain or when pondering meaning as they try to cope with hospitalization.
We can be called when a patient is feeling the distress of illness, is questioning the meaning of life, is needing support for spiritual healing, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We can be contacted whenever a spiritual need is perceived so an appropriate spiritual assessment can be made and follow-up offered.
Pastoral care is committed to providing a holistic approach to health care incorporating the Body, Mind and Spirit. In the Mental Health program, a holistic approach includes taking patients out for coffee and therapeutic walks, facilitating cooking and gardening groups, or other activities that mend the spirit.
In Mental Health, a group that is unique in its pastoral care orientation is called, ‘Reflections Group.’ This group provides an opportunity for patients to discuss their own spiritual practices, beliefs, and experiences, to explore aspects in their lives that provide hope, purpose, and meaning, to find ways to practice reducing stress, self care, be rejuvenated and to provide a safe and supportive environment where the patients can share and support each other and be supported.
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