Mental Health Matters

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2021 Special Feature

Mental Health Matters

You Matter Content supplied by ConnexOntario


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As an integral part of the addictions and mental health continuum, Brentwood provides lifelong, compassionate and evidence-informed treatment to people whose primary goal is lifelong recovery from alcohol and drug misuse. Additionally, we provide on-going, community-based support for family members. Programs offer both group and individual therapy sessions. Extensive Lived Experience Network. Staff and Peer supported aftercare. Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program (all genders age 13-21) facility now open. Celebrating over 55 years of Recovery. Member, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. Residential Addiction Treatment (Adult)

Brentwood Recovery Home 2335 Dougall Ave., Windsor, ON Residential addiction treatment for all genders,16 years of age and older. Program duration 21 - 90 days dependant upon internal assessment and client progress. Nonresidential recovery aftercare available 7 days a week. Supports available for parents, family & friends of persons challenged by addiction.

Residential Addiction Treatment (Youth/Young Adult) Brentwood Recovery Home

Community Addiction Treatment (Adolescents only) this service is paused due to Covid, Brentwood Recovery Home

2335 Dougall Ave., Windsor, ON Residential addiction treatment for youth and emerging adults 16 years of age and older. Program duration 21 - 90 days dependant upon internal assessment and client progress. Family systems model therapeutic community, includes parent/family supports, after-care and extensive lived-experience network. Onsite classroom allows youth to continue or reengage school work.

2335 Dougall Ave., Windsor, ON Community addiction treatment for youth13-16 years of age. Program duration and frequency dependant upon internal assessment and client progress Family systems model therapeutic community, includes parent/family supports, after-care and extensive lived-experience network. Programming is non-residential.

BRENTWOOD RECOVERY HOME 2335 Dougall Ave Windsor ON N8X 1S9 (519) 946-3114 Fax: (519) 258-2095 • (800) 561-3044 E-mail: Website: Charitable Registration #: 11885 0130 RR0001 ADVERTORIAL

Recovery home team helps relight ‘little candle of hope’ ‘Don’t suffer in silence,’ addiction specialists say Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works


iracles walk around here every day,” says Mark Lennox, interim executive director of Brentwood Recovery Home. Treating 25,000 men and women struggling with addiction since Father Paul Charbonneau and Kay and Jim Ryan founded the organization in 1964, Brentwood helps people who are ready to make a lasting change and become healthy. “Hope is our number one priority here,” Lennox says. “Part of addiction is that feeling of isolation and hopelessness that there is no way out of the downward spiral. It’s partly because the repeated failed attempts: people break their new year’s resolutions and promises to family they’ll never get out of control again. Yet it gets worse and extinguishes that little candle of hope. Brentwood strives to relight it.” Fortunately, COVID-19 has not blown out Brentwood’s ability to serve people with unmanaged addiction disease and disorders, program graduates and their families. In the first lockdown, the recovery home at 2335 Dougall Ave. in Windsor received few new requests for treatment.

seeking help for themselves. “Last year, we received 6,970 calls for service – that’s a little down from 7,113 the prior year. Consider that in April the calls were almost non-existent.”

Mark Lennox says Brentwood Recovery Home assists families and helps them heal from addictions.

Throughout COVID-19, the live-in onsite program has remained open, with the Brentwood complex locked down for the safety of clients and staff. Newly admitted clients stay in isolation units for two weeks before joining others in the program. “Although we’re known for our inperson services, our aftercare, family, graduate and other support programs have all gone virtual during the pandemic,” Lennox says. December’s 481 online meetings were attended by 2,061 participants. Connecting in-person and online is important. “Our modality is people need other people on the road to recovery,” says Lennox. During talk therapy, “we understand that other people are going through the same things; we’re not alone. Seeing all these people who had overcome similar struggles provided the brass ring of hope for me – that I could live a normal life,” says Lennox, who graduated from Brentwood in 2003 and joined the organization professionally a couple of years later.

“Everyone was hunkering down at home,” Lennox points out. “We know that addiction does not respond well to isolation. Multiple Canadian studies show drinking, including binge drinking, is up as a result of the pandemic and isolation. The opioid death rate has gone up, too.”

“I’m in recovery, which means it’s been over 18 years since I had a drink. Although I received lots of guidance under Father Paul, it was Brentwood alumni who helped maintain my recovery and showed what was possible in my life.”

Calls to Brentwood quickly “roared right back” with staffers fielding 600 requests for services in December 2020 alone. Some were families looking for assistance, most were individuals

Typically, 80 to 100 people are in Brentwood’s live-in program for 90 days. That includes 33 live-in clients participating in the 21-day program offered at no cost to Ontario residents

and funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care through the Erie-St. Clair Local Health Integrated Network. Other funding partners, Brentwood’s lotteries and clients’ private healthcare benefits or personal payments make it possible for more people to receive live-in treatment. Studies indicate it often takes three times before people suffering from alcoholism or other addictions stay with long-term recovery. “It doesn’t matter what type of treatment they get. Individuals need choice. Harm reduction with medical assistance, group therapy, one-on-one counselling, a 12-step program, living in at Brentwood – whatever works for the person is the route they need to take,” Lennox observes. “Treatment offers a solution, not a cure. The person has a chronic disease or disorder that takes time to get under control.” Noting “mental health issues and addictions are closely tied,” Lennox says, “they are both long-term and need to be treated together whenever possible. Our Brentwood psychiatrist deals with far more than substance abuse.”

When families heal together, “the individual struggling with addiction has twice the success rate for long-term recovery than those trying to do this themselves,” Lennox finds. Brentwood and other community providers offer support to families, helping them understand what is going on and assist in healing the family Brentwood’s youth program has been bringing together client’s’youth and teens for nearly 40 years. “Some youth have lost part of their childhood because they are the caregivers at home. It’s important they talk with other young people with similar experiences,” Lennox says. While the youth meet, their parents learn to build their family toolbox in programs now online. Lennox treasures letters from families crediting the youth program with normalizing relationships and helping their children grow into fulfilled adults. “Don’t suffer in silence,” Lennox urges. “We have wonderful organizations ready to help here in Windsor-Essex County. Reach out.” For more information, connect with Brentwood Recovery Home at 519-2532441 or visit

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CMHA helps grieving daughter cope with parents’ deaths Pandemic response therapy a free service to clients


Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

istraught by the passing the passing of her father two years ago, Mary grieved with her mom, visiting her daily in the long-term care residence that had been the couple’s final home together. And then her mother died in 2020. Mary (not her real name) was devastated – and this time not only due to the death of both parents but with COVID-19 she was left without being with her mom during what was a profoundly difficult time. Mary was able to use services of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-WECB) to help her cope with grief in each situation. First through Bereavement Counselling and then with a new service of a Pandemic Response Therapist. Both services are non-government funded and instead relying on sponsorships, grants and donors. CMHA-WECB launched its Move the Dial Million Dollar Fundraising campaign to try to get ahead of the curve of what they see as an Echo Pandemic. “Mental Health was already in need of additional funding for prevention, education, training, suicide prevention and bereavement and the pandemic has just made needs even greater,” says Kim Willis, Director Communications and Mental Health Promotion. There are the ongoing needs from people like Mary who struggle with the care of aging parents while often juggling other priorities. And those dealing with their own difficulties from lockdown, working in front line work, homeschooling and working and maybe never having to even see a need to ask for help. Mary’s issues with grief started before the pandemic and then escalated during mid 2020. “To get help with grieving my father, I reached out to the CMHA-WECB.” Two counselling sessions brought her

Dana St Jean, pandemic response therapist with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Windsor-Essex County Branch, says she has seen the benefits of her organization as both a member of the community whose family used its services and an employee. - Supplied

comfort. “The CMHA social worker said please reach out again when your mother passes away because it will be a whole different experience,” Mary recalls. It was important advice. “Mom had Parkinson’s Disease and frontal lobe dementia. She always knew me, but went downhill after my father passed away,” Mary says. “There were wonderful days I could sit with her and hold her hand; there were other days when I was running around trying to find staff to help her. I felt stressed out.” Then COVID-19 turned the world upside down and Mary, like so many others in our community are facing the trauma of not being able to be with love ones in their final months, days and hours. Mary suddenly found herself standing outdoors, waving to her mom through the bedroom window. Phone and Facetime conversations helped but weren’t the same as being physically together, as so many families have learned in the pandemic.

Her voice trembles as she recalls phoning the head nurse while observing her mom on a window visit to inform her, ‘I think my mom is passing away.’ Staff called the next day with the news her mother was being moved into the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County. Mary was finally able to be with her mom – but she died in less than a week. While her parent’s death was not caused by COVID-19, the pandemic took away a lot of her quality of life. “I know there are worse situations, with people dying alone on ventilators. COVID-19 has just made everything more complicated for everyone.” Two months after her mother passed, Mary was connected with Dana St Jean, a Pandemic Response Therapist. The position was created in April 2020 to address mental health needs of people struggling with COVID-19 thanks to a donation by the Toldo Foundation and the Windsor Essex Community Foundation. Pandemic response therapy is focused on anxiety, depression, trauma, isolation and distancing stress, and death and bereavement concerns – a free service through CMHA-WECB. If a client presents with additional needs, CMHA has other beneficial programs, groups and supports. Conversations with Dana every few weeks have helped Mary gain perspective, coping strategies and motivation to enjoy simple activities she loves. “Dana has a lot of empathy and

compassion. She validates that I did the best I could in the moment for my parents. Dana and her team – thank God for them.” More people are in need of CMHAWECB services the longer COVID-19 goes on. Bereaved people are faced with particularly difficult challenges. “They can’t complete traditional death and funeral rites with their family and support system,” St Jean says. CMHA-WECB therapists help clients identify the things they can control now and the ways they can honour their loved ones’ life. CMHA-WECB and its community partners are preparing for the support that will be required post-pandemic, when people will be overwhelmed by their experiences of fear, trauma, grief, PTSD and other issues. Move The Dial for Mental Health and Wellness is meant to generate funds to continue work in education and prevention to ensure there are resources to deal with a looming mental health crisis 2021 also marks the 50th Anniversary of CMHA-WECB. “It is a bittersweet event,” says CEO Claudia den Boer. “We are so proud of our staff, of our gains and accomplishments. And yet we are saddened by the greater need for mental health services we see on the horizon.”

CMHA-WECB and various community partners offer services related to mental illness, addictions and/or bereavement and suicide prevention. These include: Mental Health & Addictions Urgent Care Centre (519-257-5111, ext. 77968); Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Regional Children’s Centre (519-257-5437); CMHA Health Centre (519-971-0116); Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Mental Health & Wellness Centre (519-257-5224); and HDGH 24-Hour Crisis Line (519-973-4435). For more information, call CMHA-WECB at 519-255-7440 or visit If you are in crisis, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.


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Mental Health Matters

2021 Special Feature


The emergence of online/ virtual treatment services Written by: Anne Counter


s the Covid-19 pandemic began to impact Ontario, there was an abrupt disruption to in-person treatment services in Ontario. Some services temporarily closed, others limited the services they could offer, and others began to offer services virtually or by phone. BounceBack (bounceback@ontario. is an example of an available online option. BounceBack is an evidence-based, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) skill-building program for adults and youth 15+ across Ontario. Through one-on-one telephone coaching, workbooks and online videos that participants can do from home, they learn CBT skills to help them better manage their symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. In the spring of 2019, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided funding to new initiatives in an effort to have services available to

individuals virtually. Funding was given to two service providers to offer Internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT). These programs allowed people dealing with depression and anxiety to connect online with a counsellor, and receive ongoing therapy. The two services that became available in the spring of 2019 were iCBT – Morneau Shepell (iCBTMorneau Shepell) and ICBT – MindBeacon (iCBT-MindBeacon). Virtual counselling options enabled individuals to continue receiving treatment help and support during the pandemic, when there was a reduction in the amount of in-person help available. Morneau Shepell offers AbilitiCBT, which is an internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) program that can be accessed at any time. CBT works by helping individuals understand and change the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are causing them problems. AbilitiCBT works virtually and offers a special program to help address anxiety

symptoms related to the uniquely challenging aspects of pandemics: uncertainty, isolation, caring for family and community members, information overload and stress management. MindBeacon offers BEACON guided digital therapy. Through secure digital messaging, and tailored readings and activities, individuals work 1-to-1 with a registered therapist. The Beacon therapy can be completed at the individual’s own pace, and most people complete their personalized course in 6-10 weeks. A course of BEACON therapy includes: Personal Assessment, Personalized Course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 1-to-1 relationship with a therapist, and continued access to an individual’s history and resources for 12 months. Participants in iCBT therapy need to have internet access. The programs are designed for those with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, not for those with more complex diagnoses. However, these virtual therapies allow individuals to seek help, or continue with support, during a

pandemic time when face-to-face services have been reduced or temporarily closed altogether. They also offer easy access, as people can work on these programs from the comfort of their own home. So, for individuals who have transportation issues, they can increase ease of access. For individuals who are vulnerable from a health standpoint, utilizing these services also helps to reduce their risk of having to go out and potentially expose themselves to Covid-19 by meeting a therapist in an office. As well, these services are beneficial for people who are simply more comfortable interacting with and receiving assistance from a program virtually than they are with seeking services face-to-face. To discover mental health, substance abuse or problem gambling services available in Ontario, contact ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600, or, to contact by email or live web chat, go to

How parents can diminish their stress J uggling responsibilities to work and family can sometimes make parents feel a little overwhelmed. That feeling of being stretched thin can contribute to stress, which many parents acknowledge is part of their daily lives. Stress isn’t always caused by lifechanging events. In fact, a recent study of 2,000 parents in the United Kingdom found that the daily worries of bed time, getting homework finished, weekly food shopping, and meal times were parents’ biggest stress triggers. The research, conducted by BPme, a new app that allows customers to pay for their fuel without leaving their car, said the average parent felt stressed six times a day. Data from a 2015 Pew Research Study indicates 15 percent of American parents say their job as a parent is tiring all the time, while an additional 18 percent say parenting is tiring most

of the time. Ten percent indicated being a parent is stressful all of the time, while 15 percent said it is most of the time. The younger the age of the children at home, the more stress many parents say they face. It is well documented that stress can have various negative physical and psychological symptoms, which put stress sufferers’ overall health at risk. Parents can curtail stress by instituting some lifestyle changes and employing other management techniques. • Don’t take work stress home. It’s easy to bring home work-related problems, which can then combine with issues at home. Try to talk to a coworker or a spouse before leaving work to diffuse tricky situations so they can be left at work. • Increase quality family time. Take a break from the extracurricular activities, volunteer responsibilities and the other tasks that pull families in

different directions. Slow down and schedule fun activities that foster parent-child relationships, such as game nights or family movie nights. • Seek professional help. Parents who are having difficulty coping can enlist the services of trained mental health professionals, advises Psychology Today. These therapists can offer helpful strategies for coping with life’s challenges. • Stick to a routine. Keeping kids on routine schedules enables parents to know which moments of the day they can get a break to rest and recharge. • Ask for help. Do not be a martyr or attempt to be a superhero. Parents who need help should reach out for assistance, especially if it’s to tame stress. Doing so is in the best interest of the entire family. Stress is something many parents face, but it can be overcome. - Metro Creative


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2021 Special Feature

Mental health myths vs. facts Written by: Cheryl Legate


yths surrounding mental illness perpetuate stigma. Stigma relates to the negative attitudes and fixed, yet false, beliefs that people hold relating to those who live with mental illness or mental health concerns. These negative attitudes have an impact on people in all areas of their lives, employment, housing, food security, health care, self-esteem, and overall wellness. People who live with mental illness and who experience stigma, are far less likely to seek help and support. Myth: People with Mental Illness are violent. Fact: It is more likely that people with Mental Illness will be the victim of other people’s violence.

Myth: People with Mental Illness are crazy. Fact: Someone with a mental illness should be treated the same as someone who has a physical illness. It is just an illness of the brain, as opposed to an illness of the body.

Myth: People with Mental Illness will not get better. Fact: People with mental illness can, and do, get better. With proper treatment and support, those with mental illness can live well and healthy lives. For some, recovery may be a longer process, but it is possible. Myth: Only First Responders get PTSD. Fact: PTSD is a result of any kind of trauma. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, difficult childhood, bullying, harassment and exposure to even one traumatic event can cause an individual to experience PTSD. Myth: Mental Illness is a weakness or a character defect. Fact: Mental Illness is caused by biological and environmental factors, and sometimes it can be a combination of both. Some people are more susceptible based on difficult life circumstances and some people are genetically predisposed to illness. Myth: Schizophrenia is caused by poverty and/or bad parenting. Fact: Schizophrenia is a brain disease and comes from the Greek Words - Schizo (means split) and Phrenia (means mind). It is the mind splitting from reality. Early intervention with Schizophrenia and other forms of Psychosis is important because the longer it goes untreated, the more damage it causes to the brain. Myth: Mental illnesses are not real illnesses.


Fact: The words we use to describe mental illnesses have changed greatly over time. What has not changed is the fact that mental illnesses are not the regular ups and downs of life. Mental illnesses create distress, do not go away on their own, and are real health problems with effective treatments. When someone breaks their arm, we would not expect them to just “get over it.” Nor would we blame them if they needed a cast, sling, or other help in their daily life while they recovered. Myth: Mental illnesses will never affect me. Fact: All of us will be affected by mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that as many as one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. You may not experience a mental illness yourself, but it is very likely that a family member, friend, or co-worker will experience challenges.

How to stay fit when social distancing

Discriminating Language: Crazy, Psycho, Psychotic, Whacko, Loony, Nuts, Schizo, Loony Bin, Shrink. All of these terms are used when referring to people who are unwell or experiencing some form of mental health concern, or illness. This type of language further stigmatizes those who live with a form of mental illness as no one wants to be referred to as “crazy.” People are unlikely to seek help when these terms are used to describe them. We also do not want to label people by their illness. For example, we do not want to say “he, or she, is a schizophrenic.” They are not their illness. They are a person who lives with an illness called Schizophrenia. A person is not “Bipolar”. They are a person who lives with an illness called “Bipolar Disorder”. We would never call a person “a cancer” or “a broken leg”. We should not refer to people by their mental illness.

Did you know? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 8.8 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 report having a mental illness. Among those who reported such illnesses, 42 percent indicated their illness went untreated. Substance abuse disorders also are more common among 18- to 25-year-olds than many people may think. SAMHSA notes that 5.1 million young adults report having a


any people consider their gyms much more than a place to exercise. A gym can be a great place to socialize while trying to stay healthy. Having friends or fellow fitness enthusiasts around also can provide the motivation many people need to stay the course and achieve their fitness goals. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association says more than 70 million consumers visited health clubs in 2017. That marked a record high since IHRSA began tracking data in 1987. Fitness memberships also are popular in Canada. GoodLife, the largest fitness club in Canada, has 400 different locations and more than 1.5 million members. Fitness centers were among the many non-essential businesses forced to shutter as a result of COVID-19, forcing fitness enthusiasts to find new ways to stay mentally and physically fit. Many creative ideas have surfaced. • Online classes: An internet connection is all that’s necessary to find a number of workouts that can be

substance abuse disorder, streamed from the comfort of home. The streaming website YouTube can be a gold mine for free workouts. Some cable service providers also may have On Demand fitness channels or rentals that can mirror some of the classes taken at the gym. • Social apps: Gym-goers can inquire whether their gyms are offering alternative programs. For example, Jersey Strong, a fitness chain in New Jersey, began live-streaming many of its popular group fitness classes via a special Facebook page. Class instructors guide classes from their own homes or from empty gyms. Other gyms may provide links to subscriber-based gym training workouts free of charge. • The great outdoors: Even though some parks, beaches and trails have been closed, workouts can take place in and around the neighborhood. Jogging or walking can be excellent cardiovascular exercises, as can taking a bicycle ride for a few miles down neighborhood streets. People who live

in rural areas can run through forested land or even farmland. Pushups, situps, planks, and other body weight exercises can be done right in the backyard. Before making a decision about whether or not to be active outside, be sure to check the latest guidance from your local health department and community or state leaders. • Remote sports: Videos of city dwellers playing tennis across roof tops for much-needed air and exercise have emerged in recent weeks. Similar benefits can be achieved with a game of catch, volleyball or racquet sports over fences with neighbors, provided limits on participants are placed and social distancing is maintained. Staying fit during COVID-19 restrictions takes some ingenuity, but it’s certainly possible to maintain your overall health. In fact, some people have found they now have more time to exercise than they did before. – Metro Creative

and 87 percent of those with disorders are not treated. More information about mental health and substance abuse, including how to find treatment, is available at – Metro Creative


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Need To Talk? We Can Help! Supporting Communities and Families. Strengthening People. Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE) is a non-profit, charitable organization and the largest provider of counselling services in Windsor and Essex County. We provide confidential counselling services to families, individuals, and couples. We are also proud to offer a safer space for the 2SLGBTQIA community to access mental health care. Our therapists are compassionate and highly trained professionals. All of our therapists hold, at a minimum, a Master’s degree and are members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers or are registered psychotherapists.

Fees for counselling are based on your ability to pay. Subsidies are available for those who need it. We help people cope with a wide range of challenges, from arising issues to past events, as well as injustices such as trauma, poverty, exclusion and discrimination. We use strategies to help people resolve conflicts, address personal problems, and live their lives independently in the community. Our goal is to help each person reach their full potential so they can: Better manage their daily life • Become more resilient when facing challenges • • Choose how they will participate in the community

Our counselling services are affordable, accessible and 100% confidential. At this time, counselling sessions can be provided safely by phone and video. There are no wait lists.

Please call 1-888-933-1831 to book your next appointment or to learn more. You can also visit us online at

Family Services Employee Assistance Program (FSEAP) Your Partner in Workplace Wellness


Your organization is only as strong as the people in it. When your employees and their families are healthy and resilient, your organization prospers. FSEAP is the only national not-for-prot provider of employee and family assistance programs, wellness solutions, and consultation to organizations across Canada.


• Up to 30% of all unscheduled absences are related to personal and family concerns • 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime • Mental illness is the #1 cause of disability • EAPs provide high levels of user satisfaction and improved workplace productivity

• Gain a return on investment of $3 to $10 for every $1 invested in an employee assistance program

• Resource kits for life’s stages and personal challenges • Smoking cessation supports



Our trained and experienced specialists offer condential guidance to help your employees navigate through life’s simple and complex challenges. We help keep employees well, focused and at work. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. • Personal counselling • 24/7 access to telephonic counselling and support • Child/elder-care consultation • Financial coaching and credit counselling • Legal referral and consultation • Life and career coaching • Nutrition and health coaching

Call us today. Find out how we can help your organization and employees thrive.


The results speak for themselves: • 99% of employees would recommend FSEAP to others • 98% are satised with the counselling they’ve received • 89% said FSEAP “improved” or “signicantly improved” their issue • FSEAP is a four time recipient of the Employee Assistance Society of North America’s Corporate Award of Excellence • FSEAP is an accredited EAP provider

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Thriving community means healthy individuals, families and workplaces


Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

eeling down despite the cheery Christmas lights shining all over town, a local resident called the 24/7 Counselling Support Line, staffed by Family Services WindsorEssex. Like many adults these days, the 17-year-old was struggling with his mental health. Not being able to see his friends, isolated at home and finding online learning difficult, the “A” student was dismayed to see his grades decline as the pandemic progressed. “The changes in his mental health affected his motivation. His selfesteem and overall sense of happiness diminished,” says Beth Anne Ternovan, manager of the counselling program at Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE). “From his first call, this youth was immediately connected to a counsellor” Ternovan says. “Then the same counsellor followed up with a caring wellness check call the next day and created a plan that included weekly counselling appointments by video. By the teen’s second session, he was already starting to feel better.” “We’ve seen a dramatic rise in calls during COVID-19. Our 36 therapists are meeting with people by phone and video and in person 7 days a week,” Ternovan notes. In her 24 years with FSWE, she has never seen a time like this one. “We know it’s not easy for a person to call for help. If your intuition tells you, “I think I need to talk to somebody”, listen to it,” she says. “Don’t wait to make a call for help. More than ever we encourage people to reach out and get connected. Help is only a call away.” Family Services Windsor-Essex – Need to talk? We can help. FSWE is a non-profit charitable organization serving Windsor and Essex County. They provide counselling and support services to help individuals, couples and families to achieve better mental health and access basic needs such as housing and income. The team of licensed counsellors and registered psychotherapists assist with many concerns, including depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and relationships. Among agencies who provide counselling, FSWE has worked hard to make access to mental health care a priority. There are no waiting lists. Counselling fees are based on a person’s ability to pay and subsidies are provided for those who have limited income. And FSWE’s

therapists can provide counselling appointments by phone or online video. There is also FSWE’s Counselling Support Line, funded by the United Way/Centraide WindsorEssex County, where callers can talk with therapists for free, 24/7. (Please call 1-877-451-1055 or 519-946-3277). Helping people become mentally well is one of many commitments FSWE is dedicated to achieving. Rounding out the list is that the people they support are valued and included, that their basic needs are met, and ultimately that WindsorEssex becomes a better place to live. “We support people to build their resiliency, we help people realize their strengths and can get back on track,” Ternovan says. Especially when it comes to their mental health, “Sometimes people just need to talk and have someone listen. Need to talk? We can help”. Family Services Employee Assistance Program – Your Partner in Workplace Wellness At the start of the pandemic, employers with an employee assistance program (EAP) in place recognized very quickly the value of providing mental health supports to their employees. Family Services Employee Assistance Program (FSEAP) has supported workplaces and their employees since 1975. Today they are the only not-for-profit EAP provider in Canada, operating as a social enterprise for Family Services Windsor-Essex. COVID-19 is increasing incidents of people experiencing anxiety for the first time or at heightened levels. Struggles to balance work and life, fear of catching the virus, worry about children at home and older parents in lockdown, strain on relationships, concern about their workplaces, feelings of loneliness and job security are prompting employees to reach out to FSEAP. “Our 24/7 counselling is the most requested of our services, which include crisis support, health and wellness resources, life coaching and legal and financial consultation,” says Tonya Lyver, Workplace Consultant with FSEAP. “Counselling gives employees an opportunity to gain perspective and process traumatic and stressful experiences. Getting help early can prevent a problem from becoming bigger.” “Since May, FSEAP has experienced a 23% increase in counselling sessions over the previous year,” says Lyver. In every workplace, “we have to consider what employees are dealing with in

Carine Mpindu is a Customer Care specialist at Family Services Windsor-Essex. – Supplied

Sylvie Quenneville, a Customer Care team member at Family Services Windsor-Essex, consults with a caller. – Supplied

Zahra Abou ElHassan is a Customer Care counsellor at Family Services Windsor-Essex. – Supplied

create and maintain healthy and productive work environments. The program keeps employees well, focused and on the job. “Our services are instrumental in preventing accidents and work-related injuries while reducing overall healthcare and disability claim costs,” Lyver points out.

their personal lives before COVID-19, the layers of stress that the pandemic adds and what resources people have to carry them through the coming months.” Proactively building mental health and resilience helps employees on the job and at home. FSEAP is doing more workplace training sessions to give workers the tools they need. “We also consult with managers and leaders frequently about adapting to swiftly changing COVID-19 circumstances,” Lyver says. With mental illness the number one cause of disability, and 20 per cent of Canadians experiencing mental illness in their lifetimes, employers are realizing that having an EAP makes sense. For every dollar an employer invests in an EAP, they gain a $3 to $10 return on investment. FSEAP assists organizations to

Organizations are supported by FSEAP’s program and wellness promotion, education and training, critical incident and trauma response services. “Our team believes that healthy individuals, families and workplaces create healthy, thriving communities. We’re here to help our neighbours.” For information about FSEAP, or to access free mental health tips, visit or call 1-844-720-1212. For more information or to learn more about Family Services Windsor-Essex, call 1-888- 933-1831 or visit

Beth Anne Ternovan – Supplied

Tonya Lyver – Supplied


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Mental Health Matters

2021 Special Feature

Risky behaviors that can lead to chronic disease PHOTO: METRO CREATIVE


hronic diseases pose a significant threat to the general public. It can be easy for adults in the prime of their lives to overlook the danger of chronic diseases, especially if they feel good and aren’t exhibiting any symptoms to suggest their health is in jeopardy. But overlooking the potential dangers of chronic disease can prove deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Chronic diseases are costly as well, as recent reports from the Rand Corp. and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate that 90 percent of annual health care expenditures in the United States are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.

While there’s no way to guarantee a person won’t develop a chronic disease, avoiding certain risky behaviors can help adults greatly reduce their risk for various chronic diseases. TOBACCO USE The CDC notes that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, and not just among smokers. While 34 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes, 58 million nonsmokers, including children, are exposed to secondhand smoke, which can cause chronic diseases like stroke, lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of impaired lung function, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks.

POOR NUTRITION The value of fruits and vegetables is well-documented. In spite of that, the CDC reports that fewer than 10 percent of adults and adolescents eat enough fruits and vegetables. In addition, the CDC reports that 60 percent of young people between the ages of two and 19 and half of all adults consume a sugary drink on any given day. Such beverages, as well as processed foods, add unnecessary sodium, saturated fats and sugar to people’s diets, increasing their risk for chronic disease as a result. LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY The Department of Health and Human Services has issued physical activity guidelines designed to help people improve their overall health and reduce their risk for various diseases. But the CDC reports that just

25 percent of adults and 20 percent of adolescents meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. Low levels of physical activity can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and obesity. EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION The CDC notes that excessive alcohol consumption can cause heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and stroke. In addition, the CDC reports that the less alcohol a person drinks, the lower his or her risk of cancer becomes. Chronic diseases are a formidable opponent. But people of all ages can reduce their chances of developing such diseases by avoiding a handful of risky behaviors. – Metro Creative


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Mental Health Matters

W i n d s o r s Ta r


2021 Special Feature

A snapshot of supportive listening Written by: Tricia Korbut


upporting listening is a technique that enables a person to demonstrate concern during a conversation. Whether it is a client, a friend or even a co-worker, supportive listening has the ability to deepen connections in addition to defusing and clarifying thoughts. It is a skill that can enhance the quality of relationships. Being heard, understood and respected builds a foundation for future conversations.


A conversation can start simply enough with one question, “Can I talk to you?” But what is really being asked is, “Will you listen to me?” Listening. There is a connection that can take place when a person feels safe to share feelings and experiences and know they are being heard. A catharsis occurs when two people are engaged in a productive conversation. When done with skill and care, a person in need of a listening ear can leave the conversation feeling that some of the emotional burden is lifted and perhaps the situation less overwhelming. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to confide in others. Our current world circumstances have added to our sense of isolation and loneliness. In the last year many people have experienced an erosion of personal wellness and support systems. There is uncertainty and fear for the future and as such, a greater need for people to connect with others and to know they are not alone.


Often a general acknowledgement of the situation toward the beginning of the conversation helps to encourage conversation; “I’m glad you are sharing this with me. This is important. Please tell me more about


what is going on right now.” An acknowledgement opens the door and conveys the message of ‘I want to listen and I am willing and able to be part of this conversation’. Being fully present is key to demonstrating respect. When possible, find a location where distractions are minimized. Use positive body language such as eye contact to help show engagement. Often when we listen, it is with the intent to reply. Slowing our responses increases our ability to hear the meaning of what is being said. Supportive listening may seem intimidating because there is a fear that it involves counselling. However, it can be accomplished by anyone who wishes to offer support. All it requires is a willingness to be patient and put personal needs and beliefs on the backburner. Each of us has our own values and belief systems but it is important not to judge the choices and feelings of another.


Creating clarity to a cloudy situation can be achieved when engaged in effective supportive listening. Digging deeper and asking open ended questions is helpful to understand the details of the situation while allowing the other person to continue to share. Questions should be asked with care. Are the questions asked those that can advance the conversation? Are they framed in a positive light? Good questions can help to explore possibilities for other supports or help define what is most important for that person at that moment. Sometimes a person may have an idea of what they want or need but lack the language to name it clearly. Reflecting feelings helps to make connections, find meaning and explore possibilities for additional support in the community if needed. While supportive listening is different from counselling, it does help a

Common signs of mental health or substance use disorders in young adults Y oung adulthood is a period of incredible transition marked by personal growth and a newfound sense of independence. Many young adults confront that transition while simultaneously dealing with a mental health issue or substance abuse disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had a higher prevalence of serious mental illness when compared to adults between the ages of 26 and 49 and adults age 50 and older. In addition, SAMHSA notes that more than five million young adults report having a substance use disorder. Such issues can make the transition from teenager to young adult more challenging, potentially compromising young people’s ability to live full and independent lives. Treatment is vital when confronted by mental health or

substance use disorders, and far too many young adults report receiving no treatment at all. For example, SAMHSA notes that 87 percent of young adults with substance use disorders report receiving no treatment for their conditions. Learning to recognize these common signs may compel young adults to seek treatment, while loved ones of young adults who notice any of the following signs can encourage men and women to seek treatment. • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping • Loss of interest in hobbies and friends • Feelings of anxiousness • Changes in overall energy levels • Changes in appetite and weight • Feelings of hopelessness • Difficulty in daily functioning • Extreme mood changes • Thoughts of suicide

person in need to focus on what they require for help and what they hope to achieve at the end of the conversation. Other times all a person requires is a non-judgmental listener. Not everyone is comfortable in describing their emotions and may require support to do so. Creating a space where a person can share their feelings and experiences through accurate reflection can help to frame feelings and thoughts in a clearer light. Supportive listening is about taking the time to hear what a person needs and to respect what they are feeling. Good listening will use a 70/30 rule. 70 percent of the conversation is spent listening; 30 percent is speaking. It is important for this balance to keep the conversation moving forward and to be productive. While many issues and feelings cannot be completely resolved in a single conversation, positive ground can be achieved through supportive listening. By providing a caring listening ear, a person can feel heard, understood and respected. ConnexOntario staff are trained to listen and to connect with people who are reaching out for help. Often people are experiencing frustrations navigating the mental health system, express fear and worry for loved ones or themselves and sometimes they are not sure of what type of help they require. In the last year, these conversations also focused on the erosion of personal wellness and fear for the future. There is a greater need for people to connect with others and to know they are not alone. Connex provides a safe, caring environment for a person to connect and to share their situation. Being heard, understood and respected builds a foundation for a successful conversation and increases the likelihood of seeking additional support within the community. Supportive listening. A quality connection. One person at a time.

Did you know?

The National Institutes of Health urges anyone concerned with their mental health to bring those concerns to the attention of their primary care providers. The NIH notes that people with mental health conditions can be at risk for other medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that addiction can increase a person’s risk for various diseases, including cancer and HIV/ AIDS. People who suspect they or a loved has a mental health or substance use disorder are urged to contact their primary care physicians. Treatment options and additional resources also are available at – Metro Creative

According to the online medical resource Verywell Mind, suicidal behavior can occur with any type of eating disorder, though research indicates it may be more common among patients with certain disorders. For example, Verywell Mind notes that suicide attempts appear to be more common among patients with anorexia binge-purge subtype than the restrictive subtype. Genetic studies have even indicated that anorexia nervosa and suicidality occur together due to shared genetic factors. In addition, the risk for suicide attempts is higher among people with eating disorders when those disorders occur along disorders such as depression and substance abuse. More information about the relationship between suicidal behaviors and eating disorders is available at www.verywellmind. com. In addition, free and confidential support for people in distress, and crisis resources for them and their loved ones, is available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. – Metro Creative


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W i n d s o r s Ta r

Wicked Wonder Subscription Box WHAT’S IN THE BOX? A box filled with locally made products that may include such items as bath salts/soaks/teas, all natural soaps, sugar scrubs, Aromatherapy items, sprays & roller bottle blends, jewelry, charms, supplements, crystals, crystal kits, coffees & teas. All items & services included will help to improve our healing journey & support our Mind, Body & Spirit. Some local services may include Reiki treatments, Bars Session, Tarot/Oracle Readings, Chiropractic, Massage Therapist, Life Coaching, Vegan Baked Goods.

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Crystal Magik Essential’s own aromatherapy bath salts, sugar scrubs, jewelry and roller or spray bottle blends, crystal kits, tarot cards and smudging and incense products are possible entries into the Wicked Wonder Box. Other products and services are from sponsoring businesses, including: SuperNatural Life, Twisted to Life, Fine Herbs, Embrace Beauty Services, Vision Expanding, Celestial Wellness and Healing, Active Chiropractic, The Squat Rack, Own Your Choice Healing Home of Soap By Leslie, Organo Gold and Soul Secrets.

Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

uffering from multiple autoimmune issues, Shantelle Rayner felt trapped by aches and illness for much of her life. Several years ago, she decided to try balancing the western healthcare she was already receiving with natural therapies and a healthier lifestyle. On her new holistic journey, “I learned to meditate. I ate non-toxic whole foods. I got out of synthetic products and into natural remedies,” Rayner says. “Soon, I noticed a huge improvement. Once I started focusing on me, a lot of my pain was relieved. Most of us don’t realize how greatly daily stress, anxiety and anger affects our bodies, manifesting into illnesses. When you start unblocking them, the hurt goes away.” Curious to understand this at a deeper level, Rayner trained to become a Reiki Master. Appreciating that each person is comprised of energy, the empathetic woman is able to feel people’s emotions and help release their blocked energy to flow in healing directions. Rayner’s path then led her to Access Consciousness or Access Bars therapy. As a certified Bars Practitioner, “I use the energy of my fingertips to reboot your brain, clearing out old thought patterns and reprogramming you so that your thoughts and feelings are more positive and empowering.” In her practice, Crystal Magik Essentials, crystals and essential oils are some of the beneficial tools Rayner uses. “Both can boost our physical and mental health,” the DoTerra Wellness Advocate says. Care should be taken to ensure the appropriate essential oils are chosen for an individual’s personal aromatherapy. Rayner guides clients in their selection. “My Keep Calm blend of four essential oils is great for most kinds of emotional support. It helps relax me and let me sleep soundly,” she says.

Shantelle Rayner

Rayner also practices Aromatouch Technique, strategically applying essential oils to her client’s back and feet. Crystals exude their own healing properties. “Most people are looking to block out negativity and anger. Black obsidian and tourmaline crystals are useful in guarding against those,” Rayner explains. “Other crystals, like red healer and golden healer hematite quartz, transmute negativity and anger and transform them into love and light.”

The past holiday season was made merrier for the happy recipients of Wicked Wonder Boxes. “I’m excited about the love-themed Wicked Wonder Box I’m offering throughout February,” Rayner says. The box can be tailored to suit the gender, age and tastes of the recipient. “People appreciate everything is made locally with love.” Clients typically meet with Rayner in Crystal Magik Essentials’ studio or at Hometown Laser and Spa at 12127 Tecumseh Rd. E. in Tecumseh. During COVID-19 restrictions, however, she is

A confidential discussion with clients on the phone or in person enlightens Rayner about their needs and guides her in determining which crystals are best for them. Some people put a selection of crystals in a small bag to carry in their pocket. Others wear one or more crystals on a bracelet or necklace. Crystals, essential oils and other metaphysical, health and wellness aids are tucked into Rayner’s signature Wicked Wonder Boxes, an uplifting concept she launched last summer. Priced from $45, each box contains a surprise selection of products and gift cards for services by local businesses. Rayner also welcomes orders for custom boxes.

This set of crystals helps balance and clear our ‘Chakras.’ - Supplied

offering delivery and porch pickup from her McGregor home. “Everyone is impacted by the uncertainties and fears of this pandemic,” Rayner finds. “There is much we can do to improve our own wellbeing.” She points out that dopamine, the reward chemical, is released by our bodies when we complete tasks and selfcare activities. Oxytocin, the love hormone, revs up with hugging, complimenting and playing with people and pets we care about. Serotonin stabilizes our mood and gets a boost from being in sunshine, meditating, walking in nature and taking other healthy exercise. Endorphins kill pain and increase when we exercise, laugh, eat dark chocolate and use essential oils. “Modern western medicine combined with traditional natural remedies is the best balance, I believe,” says Rayner. “It’s wonderful that each of us has options and opportunities to discover what is right for us.” To learn more about Crystal Magik Essentials, call 519-984-7997 or visit

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You don’t have to be at your lowest point to get help. CRISIS WALK-IN HOURS: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Seven days per week 744 OUELLETTE AVE, WINDSOR, ON


Tired, stressed and feeling overwhelmed, Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre to provide help you need


oe is a Windsor restaurant owner. Joe has a wife and two young daughters. His work, his family’s livelihood, is what ensures his daughters have healthy food on the table and can attend activities like dance and karate once a week. Joe and his family depend on the success of this restaurant to survive. The last few months have been stressful for Joe. He is finding it harder to remain positive and is out of new ideas on ways he can generate an income during times of growing COVID-19 cases and therefore extended health and safety protocols. He feels tired all the time. He is quick to react to his daughters and is not himself. One afternoon, while walking to his car his notices a sign he has not seen before. It reads – TSC, The Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre. Its purple and rose gold lettering decorate Downtown Windsor’s Ouellette Ave and something tells him he needs to hear more. That night Joe spends time learning more about what happens inside the building decorated with the purple and rose gold sign. He learns that is an offsite location of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare on Prince Road. He already knows about the HDGH team helped his brother through its Withdrawal Management Services when he was struggling with substance abuse. He learns that the Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre helps those with a mental health-related concern. That anyone over the age of 16 can walk through the doors, and comfortably be supported and seen by a mental health social worker. Joe learns that services are not just for those with mental illness but also for people like him – someone feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and recognizing that his usual coping strategies during times of stress are

simply not enough in these unusual and quickly changing circumstances. My schedule is so demanding. I must be at the restaurant every day trying to figure out what to do next, Joe found himself thinking. How will I have time for something like this? How will I make time for me? The Crisis and Mental Wellness hours flash on the screen – Monday – Sunday 8 am – 8 pm. Wow, he thinks. Maybe I can stop in and talk to someone later one evening this week? Wait, he notices the numbers 24/7 boldly on his screen. It is the number of HDGH’s crisis line (519-973-4435) for those to call any time, any day experiencing a mental health-related crisis. I can call and talk to someone at any hour, seven days a week? At that moment, Joe recognizes something inside him other than anxiety; he is starting to feel a sense of hope. “As a one-stop shop for mental health and addiction care, those needing supports in our community can walk through our doors and safely be seen by a member of our team,” said Tammy Kotyk, integrated director of Outpatient and Community Mental Health Services. “Help could also continue from there. Working closely with our partners at the Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor- Essex County Branch our teams will coordinate further access should it be needed. This could look like help filing for appropriate government supports or linkages to primary care.” You don’t need to worry if you qualify for services, the team will work on this for you. The Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre ensures people get help they need, when they need it. “Now is not the time to power through. It is not the time for aggressive optimism, you are not alone. All emotions have a purpose, and we recognize

that our community is experiencing some intense ones right now,” said Dr. Sonja Grbevski, vice president of Mental Health at HDGH. Grbevski also reminded the community of the Mental Health and Addictions Urgent Care Clinic (MHAUCC) opened at the onset of the pandemic by HDGH and CMHA WECB as another option for individuals experiencing mental health or substance related concerns. Today, the MHAUCC remains a service option at CMHA WECB 1400 Windsor Avenue for those requiring brief, urgent mental health or addiction care who cannot wait for community supports. How is Joe? On a Thursday afternoon, after finishing up at the restaurant he decided to walk through the doors of the Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre. He is glad he did. He talked. He was heard and was provided some great tools and resources to get him through the next few months. Joe learns that you don’t have to be at your lowest point to get help. Are you Joe?



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Mental Health Matters

Did you know? Food can affect your mood

No one is immune to the occasional bad mood. Whether it’s the weather, waking up on the wrong side of the bed or another variable, various factors can have an adverse affect on a person’s mood. Food is one factor that can have a positive effect on mood. Certain foods have been found to positively affect mood, so incorporating them into your diet may help you stay positive even on those days when you get up on the wrong side of the bed. • Fatty fish: A study from British researchers published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that a daily dose of an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, helped patients with depression significantly reduce their feelings of sadness and pessimism. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, trout, and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. • Nuts and seeds: The minerals selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc have all been linked to mental health, and nuts are rich in each of those minerals. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and peanuts are particularly good

sources of the immune systemboosting minerals zinc and magnesium. • Dark, leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and collards are rich in iron and magnesium, both of which can increase serotonin levels and help reduce feelings of anxiety. Dark, leafy greens also help the body fight inflammation, which can have a positive effect on mood. A 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that brain inflammation contributed to certain behaviors, including low mood, that appear during major depressive episodes. • Dark chocolate: Chocolate lovers may be happy to learn that dark chocolate can improve mood. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that dark chocolate helped to reduce levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been linked to stress. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that, when consumed in moderation, dark chocolate made of at least 70 percent cocoa can help people relax. Various foods can have a beneficial effect on mood, potentially helping people to stay positive when doing so proves challenging. – Metro Creative

Live Violence-Free Our Mission: To break the cycle of domestic violence one family at a time. We do this by providing 24 hour a day crisis intervention and emergency shelter to abused women and their children. With safety as a priority, we also provide clients with a comprehensive support plan to ensure their needs are met. This typically includes referrals for mental and physical wellness, housing, employment, legal supports, and many more.

24/7 Crisis Line - 519-252-7781


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Mental Health Matters



2021 Special Feature

Dealing with trauma Written by Hannah Elder System Navigation Specialist, ConnexOntario


raumatic events are experienced and interpreted differently depending on each individuals’ circumstance which make it difficult to define trauma with one definition. Trauma can be varied, from acute, chronic and complex, often based on the event itself and the individual. In its simplest form, trauma is a term used to describe an emotional consequence to a distressing event an individual has experienced.


Trauma is directly linked to PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder) which is a response to a dangerous experience that involves serious harm to oneself or others. The devastating event could be anything from a serious accident, to being a victim of violence, or having survived a natural disaster. The effects of the devastating event can lead to intrusive thoughts and memories that affect their day-to-day lives as there is still a sense of danger even though one may be safe. Those signs & symptoms specific to PTSD can lead to psychiatric assessment to determine diagnosis and treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Most persons recover from PTSD while others may require more long-term treatment depending on the complexity of their trauma. However, not everyone who experienced such a traumatic event will necessarily develop PTSD. Each person has their own risk factors (past trauma, additional stress such as job loss or grief) and protective factors (strong support network, having a sense of control after the event, positive coping strategies to get through the event). Mental health professionals believe that these factors play a role on one’s recovery from trauma and whether it may develop into PTSD. Those that have experienced trauma that do not develop into PTSD may still develop emotional disturbances such as anxiety, anger, sadness, numbness, confusion and exhaustion to name a few. Emotional trauma is a normal response to a distressing event. It can

also be a response to long-term chronic patterns that was present in one’s life at one time or another. For example, an absent or emotionally unavailable parent, or a relationship that was always one sided. Individuals can deal with trauma by developing survival coping strategies. For some this could be ultra-independence, which is an extreme need or desire to do everything on your own since you do not trust others. Fawning can also be a trauma response. This is when people-pleasing is used to diffuse conflict and earn approval of others without setting boundaries, thus pushing your own emotions away. Trauma response is intrinsically different for each person. The first step is identifying what yours may be in order to heal.


There can be a sense of helplessness and lack of control following traumatic events. Dealing with trauma begins by recognizing that the wound you have may not be your fault. Then, accepting that healing is your responsibility and that is what is in your control. The next step, and one of the most important attributes to dealing with trauma, is acquiring self-awareness. Being able to learn and recognize what “pushes our buttons” can help us discover our triggers. Triggers are what can cause the trauma response of distressing emotional reaction and behaviours that impact day-to-day life. For instance, you may have noticed certain behavioral patterns that have impacted your relationships, job performance, wellness or other areas of your life. Understanding your own cognitive processes can help you recognize your own trauma response. With this awareness, you can begin to connect those cognitions and behaviours so you can develop healthy skills and positive coping strategies.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY A common approach to dealing with trauma is CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy). CBT offers a here-and-now focus with a problem-oriented approach. First, you identify the nature and cause of your difficulties as well as the factors that maintain them.


Trauma responses can be a result of distorted thinking, unregulated emotional reactions and negative beliefs about one self. CBT aims to help identify, evaluate and change these thinking patterns at different levels of cognition in order to develop more helpful and accurate meaning to events in life. As a result, the learned practical skills can help lessen disturbing emotional and behavioral responses in order to manage day-today life in a more positive manner, and ultimately, let go of past trauma. CBT may not benefit those who are more interested in uncovering traumatic

events exclusively since this approach wants to identify the issue in order to move forward on developing coping strategies.


If you or a loved one may be struggling with trauma responses or perhaps with PTSD, there are many programs and support services available. Reach out and connect with a System Navigation Specialist at ConnexOntario to help direct you to available services in your area including CBT programs at 1-866-531-2600

Building connec"ons that ma!er is at the heart and soul of what we do – since 1981 519-974-2220 |


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Mental Health Matters Are you suffering from symptoms of anxiety? Symptoms can include: •

Unmanageable worry

Having difficulty making decisions

Thinking worst case scenarios?

Anxiety can feel overwhelming when you do not know how to manage it. COVID-19 has contributed to a rise in anxiety that has led to a decrease in functioning and life satisfaction for many people. Please join us to learn strategies to take back your life.The group will be offered for 10 weeks at 1 hour/week. Covered by most benefit plans. Registration fee: $300.

To Register: Monday Group - Begins February 16th @ 6pm OR

Friday Group - Begins February 19th @ 10:30 am Your presenters are Kelly Sheardown MSW, RSW (FINE Counselling Services) & Shaun Ouellette MSW, RSW (Sage Therapeutic Consulting).

You can find details of the group on

ADDICTION isn’t Pretty

Time for


Recovery is within reach. We’re here to help!

Our Philosophy is to Empower Individuals Through Their Recovery We offer a holistic approach in treating individuals for substance misuse through evidence-based practices. We are client-centered in everything we do.

The House of Sophrosyne is a safe place for individuals seeking to transform the impact of addiction and trauma in an understanding and compassionate environment. Our multidisciplinary team work together to guide clients in gaining the essential tools that lead to living productive and balanced lives. Our treatment programs, wide range of services and dedicated professionals provide the right environment to help anyone struggling with addiction to alcohol or other drugs. We offer support, care and above all, hope. Our services feature one-on-one counselling, transformative group work and individualized treatment plans that focus on each individual’s unique needs and goals. Our holistic approach is grounded in the belief that empowering individuals to selfmanage their recovery in a positive way leads to a permanent and life-affirming lifestyle. Many of our clients have specialized needs ranging from mental health issues to concerns over childcare, all of which affect their recovery. We are proud to offer comprehensive Continuing Care services to ensure our clients have the kind of recovery that lasts a lifetime. We provide both residential treatment and community-based programs while adhering to a non-judgmental harm reduction model.

For more information, visit us at (519) 252-2711 | check us out on

Employment Service Centre Serving Both Men and Women

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Employment Counseling Second Career Employer Resources Resume and Cover Letter Job Readiness Training Resource and Information Centre

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1368 Ouellette Ave, Suite 102 PH:(519) 915-5588 ext 206 |

2021 Special Feature

How seniors can approach exercise


xercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. By making exercise part of their day-to-day routines, people of all ages, including men and women over the age of 65, can greatly improve their overall health. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that seniors should aspire to be as active as possible. Exercise is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and has been linked to reduced risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Though adults with chronic illnesses may be hesitant to exercise, the AAFP notes that it’s possible for men and women who have been diagnosed with such conditions to exercise safely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging.

heavy gardening, and even some forms of yoga qualify as muscle-strengthening activities. Exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as sit-ups and push-ups, also can help build strength. Always speak with a physician before beginning a muscle-strengthening exercise regimen and, if possible, work with a personal trainer, especially if you’re a novice.

FREQUENCY OF EXERCISE Seniors, particularly those who have not exercised much in the past, may not know how much exercise they need to reap the full rewards of physical activity. Though it’s best to discuss exercise with a physician prior to beginning a new regimen, various public health agencies advise seniors to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Brisk walking is one example of moderate aerobic exercise. Seniors who want to sweat a little more when exercising can replace moderate aerobic exercise with one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as jogging, each week.

WHEN TO STOP A WORKOUT It’s imperative that seniors recognize when to stop working out. Exercising more than is recommended by your doctor can increase the risk of illness or injury. In addition, stop exercising if any of the following symptoms appear:

IS STRENGTH TRAINING SAFE FOR SENIORS? The CDC advises seniors to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into their weekly fitness routines twice per week. Lifting waits, working with resistance bands,

Exercise can help seniors stay healthy and feel more energetic throughout the day. Before beginning a new regimen, seniors should discuss physical activity with their physicians. - Metro Creative

• Dizziness or shortness of breath • Chest pain or pressure • Swollen joints • Nausea • Tightness in muscles or joints • Pain anywhere in the body • Throbbing or burning sensations

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weCHC is accepting new patients throughout Windsor Essex go to or phone 519.253.8481


Breaking down barriers to meet people where they are Community Health Centre helps with addictions and mental health challenges to create change


Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

ough times can send people spiralling. Those who reach out for professional help can give themselves opportunity to halt the bump to the bottom and find healing and stability. “In our community, we see all kinds of individuals with mental health and addiction challenges, occurring for the first time or made worse during COVID-19,” says Shawn Rumble, addictions support worker coordinator with Windsor Essex Community Health Centre (WECHC). “We celebrate the many success stories of people who have been involved in our mental health and addictions programs and are rockin’ it. They are making the positive life changes they dreamed about but didn’t feel equipped for in the past,” Rumble says. He heads WECHC’s Stability Through Education Prevention and Support (STEPS) program, providing individual, group and family counselling and outreach, free to clients. Non-judgmental addictions support workers meet and coach people face-to-face with masks, by phone and online. They aid clients with their recovery goals and provide harm reduction education and supplies. Mindful that Ontario’s opioidrelated deaths have spiked over 40 per cent since the pandemic’s onset, with researchers estimating a final count surpassing 2,200 deaths in 2020, Rumble is also concerned about the many local people he encounters having problems with crystal meth and other street drugs of choice. STEPS gives them an alternative. “Clients call me the hope dealer. My team and I offer the hope of recovery and positive change so they can lead positive lives,” Rumble says. Providing a broad range of health

Dr. Joslyn Warwaruk (left) Shawn Rumble (right)

and wellness services at six locations through Windsor and Essex County, WECHC’s many doors are open during COVID-19. One is the Teen Health location, where young people access confidential help with mental health, addictions and other issues. “Thirty years ago, I averaged one teen a week for anxiety and depression. Now, it’s what I see all the time. Both are significant concerns in our community and everywhere else,” says Dr. Joslyn Warwaruk, a family doctor with an interest in adolescent medicine. She serves with the WECHC Teen Health and other Windsor medical facilities. Anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders often overlap. “More kids are struggling, stressed out and suicidal in this pandemic. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg at this point,” Dr. Warwaruk believes. “Eating disorders have skyrocketed because in these uncertain times, food is the only thing some kids feel they can control,” she says. These disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders globally. In a day, Dr. Warwaruk treats four or five teens acutely ill with eating disorders, “post-hospital or trying to keep them out of hospital. We do their vitals in person and we talk on cellphones in the Teen Health parking lot.” The doctor assures patients and

parents, “There is no harm in taking a prescribed medication for anxiety to improve serotonin levels in your brain. That’s far better than kids selfmedicating with food and recreational drugs.” Understanding that COVID-19 has placed families in unchartered territory, Dr. Warwaruk encourages sharing meals together, playing games and maintaining normalcy at home. “Some kids will balk, but it makes them feel better to have structure.” Family interaction is key. “I’m not seeing as many drug issues among my teen patients right now, which scares me. Usually kids doing drugs are truant at school, which triggers intervention. Their teachers are often the first to spot problems” but teens are not in class now, Dr. Warwaruk says. For both teens and adults, “our free outpatient addictions program offers a tailored approach to client care, through a variety of best practice psychotherapy and treatment modalities, to meet the needs of those struggling with problematic issues

related to their own substance abuse behaviour, or that of a loved one,” says Nadine Manroe-Wakerell, director of clinical practice at Windsor Essex Community Health Centre -Teen Health. “As the profile of each client is unique in their presentation, therapists engage in a collaborative nature to support clients comprehensively, identifying physical, emotional, and psychological needs and goals, for healthy change relating to ending/ moderating substance use, relapse support and self care,” ManroeWakerell says. Clients initiate their own referrals for the program. “If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we are here to help,” Manroe-Wakerell says. “Our trained therapists can provide you with information, resources, referral information and support.” To learn more, call Windsor Essex Community Health Centre at 519-253-8481 or visit

Trained therapists at Windsor Essex Community Health Centre provides people in the community with information, resources, referral information and support. Getty Images


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W i n d s o r s Ta r

Mental Health Matters

2021 Special Feature

Resiliency in mental health and addictions from a front line worker PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

Written by: Ryan Campbell


n reflecting on resiliency in the field of mental health and addiction as a front line social worker, I have two perspectives: the resiliency of the front line worker, and the resiliency of those who we are called to serve. As a seasoned social worker with over fifteen years of experience in the field, ranging from a focus on at-risk youth, HIV AIDS, mental health and addiction, housing and social services, I feel as though I have the experience to speak to the resiliency of both social workers and clients alike. Resiliency is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness” (Oxford Languages). As front line workers, we are privileged to hear the stories of those we serve. The stories shared with us are seen as “gifts” because not everybody is able to receive them. Often times, a call for help is overwhelming for individuals; it can be scary, embarrassing, and at times, very emotional. For those reaching out for help, we are often their first point of contact, and disclosing their secrets to us can make the caller feel vulnerable. Taking the first step to call for help is a sign of resiliency in our clients. At this point, communication between the social worker and client is crucial. For some clients, they have the ability to share, explain, explore and understand, while others may struggle to engage in open and honest discussion. As social workers, we hope to provide our clients with the ability to reframe what has happened to them and encourage the development of good insight and good judgment for their future.

In the field of mental health, there are many professionals who work together to provide the proper care for those in need. For individuals struggling with addictions and mental health, there is often the desire for anonymity as a result of fear - fear of judgement/stigmatization, fear of being vulnerable, fear of rejection from those closest to us. As a result of this fear, clients will often reach out to front line workers first. On the floor, we refer to this as the “onion theory”. The core of the onion is reached when the client works through the outside layers with health professionals who normalize and support what the client may be going through in a safe manner. Due to the multiple and often complex layers that come with addictions and mental health, it can

take time, but often the client has the potential to realize their competence and commitment. This allows the client to recognize the “big picture”, resulting in the ability to problem solve and work towards a realistic and achievable goal every day (Dr. Alison Block). Clients who engage with front line staff are often searching for connection and healthy relationships with family and friends, which is also a part of resiliency. These clients are aiming to internalize a sense of connection (Dr. Alison Block). Our job as social workers is to always empathize with our clients. One of the biggest rewards of this profession is hearing the sense of relief in our clients after a story is shared. In dealing with our clients, we encourage individuals to have a positive, yet realistic view of themselves. We must ensure that our clients have an accurate sense of their abilities and the potential to visualize their goals once their problem is resolved (Dr. Alison Block). As front line workers, we must also recognize and be aware of our own resiliency. I am very fortunate that I work in a safe environment that advocates self-care. In my years as a social worker, I have experienced burn out. With support, I was able to learn from my experience and also recognize my own resiliency both personally and professionally. In my professional career with Connex Ontario, front line staff are encouraged to utilize resilience techniques (as outlined by Grant and Kinman 2012, 2014). I have utilized each of these techniques and believe they are imperative to understanding resiliency in staff in the field of addictions and mental health. First, stress management techniques, such as relaxation and time management, are essential to workers in the field of mental health and addictions. It is crucial to create

strong boundaries between your personal and professional life. Leaving work at the workplace is a skill that I took a great deal of time to master. I have also learned the importance of regular self care to remain healthy. Self-care may look different for each individual worker. Some may wish to write in a reflective diary, others exercise, while some will read or watch movies as an escape. I view selfcare as a habit that is not only practiced on bad days, rather, it is something that needs to be practiced regularly. For me, this has been ensuring that I am well-rested, properly nourished, and that I exercise and engage in relaxing activities such as regular massages and colouring. Like any profession, friendships develop amongst colleagues who share common interests. Social interactions for front line workers are of utmost importance to ensure resiliency amongst the staff. Debriefing regularly, particularly with colleagues, assists with resiliency on the floor. I have found that being able to laugh or cry together, and having someone to check in regularly with, creates a healthy work environment, which aids in resiliency for the staff team. Finally, a resilience technique that is practiced with front line staff is utilizing supervision for reflective practice. Despite my many years in the field, this was a skill that I did not explore until recently. Like any profession, an employee strives to impress their boss. Often, I would take on too much or bury any of my difficulties because I struggled with admitting that I could not handle what was being asked of me. This worked initially, but not long term. It took a very connected supervisor to recognize that I was overwhelmed and struggling. I was encouraged to open up during my supervision, and although I was tentative, I was able to discuss my burn out. Accommodations were made in order for me to become healthy and resilient again. Since opening up the first time, no supervision has quite looked the same. I now have open communication with my manager who encourages me and supports me. Whether through email, in person, or a formal supervision, I am fortunate to have a manager that assisted me with building my resiliency fifteen years in the field. For both clients and professionals alike, resiliency is a work in progress. In order to remain resilient as front line workers, we must ensure that we are utilizing all the tools that we have, understand the lessons that we have learned, and continue to build on our knowledge, both personally and professionally.


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Mental Health Matters

W i n d s o r s Ta r


2021 Special Feature

Suicide and social distancing S

uicide is a significant issue across the globe. According to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), nearly 800,000 people die by suicide across the globe each year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in the world for people between the ages of 15 and 24. Suicide poses a significant threat every year, but that threat might be even greater in 2020. The global pandemic that resulted from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the winter of 2019-20 led many governments to encourage their citizens to isolate to help prevent the spread of the virus. While such restrictions were necessary, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry in April 2020 noted that the secondary consequences of social distancing may include an increased risk of suicide. The researchers behind the study noted that social connections play a key role in suicide prevention, which is why social distancing concerns so many mental health professionals. However, the researchers also emphasized that social distancing requires physical space between people, not social distance. By staying

six feet apart and wearing masks when around friends and loved ones, individuals at risk for suicide can maintain the social connections that are so vital to their mental health. SAVE notes that a lack of social support and a sense of isolation are a risk factor for suicide. But other factors also can increase suicide risk, and learning to recognize those risks can be especially important at a time when social distancing may be

putting more people in jeopardy. SAVE notes that risk factors do not cause or predict suicide. However, the presence of the following factors can increase the likelihood a person will consider, attempt or die by suicide. • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders • Alcohol and other substance use disorders

• Hopelessness • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies • History of trauma or abuse • Major physical or chronic illnesses • Previous suicide attempt • Family history of suicide • Recent job or financial loss • Recent loss of relationship • Easy access to lethal means • Local clusters of suicide • Stigma associated with asking for help • Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet) People concerned about themselves or a loved one in crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 in the United States or contact Crisis Services Canada at 1.833.456.4566. – Metro Creative


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 Am I looking to break free from addiction?  Am I looking to get back in control of my life?  Do I feel guilty, shameful or worried about my alcohol/substance use?  Is it difficult for me to stay alcohol/substance free for days at a time?  Has someone suggested that I get help with my alcohol/substance use?


∙ OTR is a FREE, co-ed five-week community outpatient substance abuse program. It is offered throughout Windsor and Essex County 2 days/ week, four hours/day. Currently offered virtual only. Technology supports available if needed.


∙ ONE Team Recovery promotes personal wellness through selfmanagement & recovery training with individual, group therapy/ counselling and education. It is an alternative to 12-Step and faith-based recovery models. ∙ Outpatient treatment allows for individuals to accommodate their employment, education and their family obligations.


• OTR is for individuals who are motivated to moderate or abstain from their substance of choice. • Participants must be 16 years+, do not require 24-hour supervision, able to function in your daily life, and can abstain from substance use during programing. • Supports individuals currently on Methadone, Suboxone, Naltrexone and other medical aids. • Valid OHIP card is required. Supported by:


Contact Windsor Team Care Centre @ 519.250.5524 2475 McDougall Street • Suite 150 • Windsor • Ontario • N8X 3N9


Health team helps patient gain control of her life Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

Doreen says in a video testimonial that Windsor Family Health Team professionals helped bring her “physically as well as mentally to a healing point.” - Supplied


ith the toll of several health concerns weighing Doreen down, she coped as best she could. Then persistent oral pain triggered a period of binge drinking. The local woman turned to her family doctor for help. “Subconsciously, I knew I was at a fork in the road,” she admits. The physician took her multiple issues seriously and provided all the care possible within his private practice. Wanting more for her, he asked his patient’s permission to refer her to the Team Care Centre, a program of the Windsor Family Health Team. Committed to getting well, Doreen headed to the medical offices at 2475 McDougall St. in Windsor. She first met with the Team Care Centre’s intake nurse to discuss her needs. Visits with the pharmacist and the dietician proved beneficial. “Most importantly, this team lined me up with one of their addictions counsellors, Beth. She taught me the tools I needed to change my behaviours,” the patient says. “You’re in such good hands with this team,” Doreen believes. “They stay on top of you in a good way to bring you physically as well as mentally to a healing point.” She felt reassured knowing the Team Care Centre health professionals were keeping her family doctor apprised of everything. “I would never have dreamed a year and a half ago that so many positive things would develop out of me taking that leap of faith,” says Doreen. “Since I’ve connected with the team, I’ve gained control of my life again.” As an extension of more than 150 physicians’ primary care, the team

wraps around its many services, so the patient receives comprehensive support. The result is increased accessibility and equitability for everyone. Since patients don’t pay fees, Team Care Centre services overcome financial barriers that may otherwise prevent people from receiving required attention. When COVID-19 hit, “we quickly adapted our services, ensuring we would remain open,” says Tracie Gignac, a social worker who counsels clients. “When not in lockdown, we are providing a mix of in-person, phone and virtual visits, which increases our access. For instance, we host an anxiety group online.” Between April and December 2020, the team did more than 3,800 phone and online consultations, plus 1,025 in-person visits. Mental health issues are top of mind during the pandemic. They were a major concern before 2020, as well. “Windsor-Essex is among the areas with the highest number of

people diagnosed with a mental health disorder per 1,000 population in Ontario,” says Ron Sheppard, Team Care Centre’s director. “Additionally, we are among the areas with the highest number of people diagnosed with a non-psychotic mental health disorder (such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders) per 1,000 population – which aligns with our centre’s mandate supporting those with mild to moderate mental illness.” Patients age 16 and older receive assessment, diagnosis, treatment recommendations, medication management and follow-up, and psychotherapy. “Our wonderful team of social workers, a psychiatrist, addictions counsellors and nurse practitioners help them with their mental health and overall wellness,” says nurse practitioner Caitlin Haugh. Sheppard says, “Patients can access our mental health program with referrals from their

physicians. Anyone in need of our addictions services can self-refer or ask their doctors to refer them.” People whose lives are adversely impacted by their substance use, gambling misuse and/or associated harmful behaviour can turn to the team’s Canadian certified addition counsellors. “We collaborate with NPs and social workers here to address additional contributing factors, such as undiagnosed anxiety, depression and other mental health issues,” says addictions counsellor Derek Roberts. Acknowledging that addiction concerns have accelerated for many people feeling isolated and stressed right now, Roberts says, “I encourage everyone to look at this COVID-19 period as self-discovery time. Without the usual distractions, we can focus.” Learning new skills, enjoying hobbies, laughing with friends online, cooking healthy recipes, exercising, meditating and just breathing boost spirits. “Celebrate your small wins that are actually huge.” Team Care Centre’s holistic approach to allied health and psychological support may lead to the patient coming under the care of other team members, including a registered practical nurse, foot care nurses, pharmacist, registered dietitian, physiotherapists, kinesiologists and respiratory therapists. “We encourage people to connect with us and explore what is available to them and their loved ones,” Haugh says. “Our robust team cares deeply about our patients. We do everything we can to help.” For more information, call Team Care Centre at 519-250-5524 or visit, where a video featuring Doreen’s journey is posted.

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W i n d s o r s Ta r


Supporting Mental Health Initiatives MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT GO AWAY DURING A PANDEMIC. Current times are taking a toll on the emotional well-being of many in our communities and we recognize the challenges that lie ahead for all of us. Your financial support is critical to assist those in need through our mental health programs. Please consider a donation this month to the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation, and the mental health programs that are currently under much demand. Together, your generosity and our passionate professionals are making a difference.



Hope the antidote for mental health challenges


recommends we establish boundaries between work/school and home life. Shut down screens when possible and enjoy games, hobbies and new interests. Be physically active. Talk openly and honestly with our youth about what we can control and how to support each other.

Karen Paton-Evans Postmedia Content Works

OVID-19 is proving to be the great equalizer, revealing that people of all ages and stages are being impacted in countless ways. Topping the list is the strain the pandemic has put on everyone’s mental health. “We’re treating patients experiencing mental health issues for the first time in their lives, as well as patients with pre-existing conditions that are now exacerbated,” says Jonathan Foster, Windsor Regional Hospital’s vice president of emergency, trauma, mental health, cancer services and renal. Everybody’s daily routine – employment, education, meaningful social relationships and activity – “the things we count on in life, have been turned upside down,” Foster notes. “There’s a big sense of insecurity in the world. The way to counteract that is to follow public health guidelines, stay the course and stay safe. The antidote is hope, as studies show. And now that COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Heightened stress, depression, anxiety and hopelessness need managing. “There is support available when those feelings overwhelm. It’s better to get help early,” says Foster. People needing to reach out may wonder what mental help is locally available. Multiple mental health organizations are providing assessments, counselling, treatment and other services on the phone, online and in-person while wearing personal protective equipment. (A partial list is below). “We also recommend people connect with their family doctor,” Foster says. “Always in an emergency or crisis, call 911 or go to the hospital

“Digest pandemic daily news in a way that empowers you, where you are learning useful information to help keep you, your loved ones and community safe. Look at it as we are all in this together and we will get through this.”

Jonathan Foster is Windsor Regional Hospital’s vice president of emergency, trauma, mental health, cancer services and renal. - Supplied

emergency department.” When patients arrive at the WRH emergency department these days, their conditions are often more severe than usual. “We think people are not accessing care earlier because they are worried about in-person visits. Whatever your ailment, don’t avoid getting care. Hospital staff are doing what we can to practice care safely,” Foster assures. Extending huge thanks and credit to Windsor-Essex County frontline workers in all services and especially in mental health, Foster applauds their resiliency in “providing amazing service while supporting each other on this unchartered journey.” On the home front, solos, couples and families can be proactive in maintaining and boosting mental health. “Our former routines can be replaced to create the structure we really need in our lives, both as youth and adults,” Foster says. Finding balance is key. Foster

Being kind to others enhances our ability to cope. “Channel yourself in meaningful ways. Although we are physically separated, collectively we can make a lot of difference,” Foster says. “We’ve seen this pandemic bring out the very best in people.” Acts of kindness are happening throughout Windsor-Essex County, like the many kids crafting hearts and happy faces to display in their homes’ windows, friends hosting online lunches to overcome loneliness together, and neighbours delivering groceries for at-risk folks next door. Josh Horan, who organized a marathon that raised $10,000 for the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation last year, says understanding how people’s personal mental health benefits from helping others. “We spread positivity, because positivity is contagious.” Horan is now inviting people of all ages to run, walk, cycle or rollerblade the Bridge 2 Bridge Marathon of Health, to be held on Saturday, May 1. Details are at from-belle-river-to-the-bridge. “Help Bridge the gap this year between mental health and the stigmas that surround it,” Horan urges.

Mental Health help just a click or call away • BANA Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association 1-855-969-5530 • Canadian Mental Health Association – Windsor Essex County Branch 519-255-7440 • Children First 519-250-1850 • ConnexOntario information and referral service 1-866-531-2600 • Family Services Windsor-Essex 1-888-933-1831 • Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre, 24-hour Crisis Line 519-973-443 • HDGH Mental Health and Addictions Programs 519-257-5111 • HDGH Regional Children’s Centre. 519-257-5437(KIDS). • House of Sophrosyne addictions treatment and counselling 519-252-2711 or 1-877-533-9503 • Mental Health and Addiction Urgent Care Centre (located at CMHA-WECB) 519-257-5111 ext. 77968 • Windsor Regional Hospital Mental Health Program 519-254-5577 ext. 33790 Anyone experiencing a crisis or emergency should immediately call 911 or the Crisis Line at 519-9734435, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.


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W i n d s o r s Ta r

Mental Health Matters

2021 Special Feature

Various ways to alleviate nurse burnout


ursing is a rewarding career, and nurses figure to be in high demand in the coming decades. As fulfilling as nursing can be, nurses routinely confront issues that other professionals may never encounter. Nurses are in high-demand, but a shortage of openings in nursing schools in recent years has led to a widening gap between the demand for skilled nurses and the supply, according to the nursing support resource As a result, many nurses are taking on more work than they can handle. Couple this with the inherently demanding nature of nursing, and it’s not surprising that nurses may experience fatigue, mental exhaustion and doubts about the value of their work. Holli Blazey, MSN, ANP-BC, the Nursing Program Coordinator for Employee Wellness at the Cleveland

the biggest sources of your stress. Communicate your findings with a supervisor or colleague who may offer advice or work with you to confront your stress in a positive way. • Don’t make new commitments. It’s tempting to want to get involved in new projects, especially if job dissatisfaction has you looking for fulfillment elsewhere. But overextending yourself even further may only add to your existing stress. • Practice relaxation exercises. Engage in slow and meaningful breathing, set aside even a few moments to sit in quiet and take a break, and think about how you can PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES approach the situation in a healthy way instead of giving Clinic, says burnout is “a big problem in to your anxiety. nationally for all kinds of caregivers, • Delegate when possible. Find out whether you work in an ICU or an which tasks can be taken off of your toambulatory setting.” Long hours, do list. Is there something a patient rotating shifts and the stress of caring care nursing assistant can do at work? for ill patients are other factors that Can you rely on a friend or family can contribute to nurse burnout. Many member to help out at home? Lighten times nurses muddle through and do your load to give yourself time to not even realize burnout is occurring. However, if anxiety, exhaustion or the recuperate. desire to skip work is cropping up • Join a support network. Many more frequently, nurses should not employers offer employee assistance hesitate to take action. The following programs, such as access to a are some ways nurses can cope with professional therapist. Connecting burnout. with other colleagues also can be a • Identify your stressors. Write down great way to build up your support the things that are stressing you out. network. Pinpointing circumstances that are These tips can help nurses find the causing you to feel overwhelmed is the relief they need when burnout starts to first step in addressing them. Try set in. More resources can be found at tracking responsibilities for a few days and write down feelings after each activity. Then try to identify which are – Metro Creative

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION? A host of symptoms may indicate a woman is experiencing postpartum depression. Each woman is different, so symptoms that affect one new mother might not affect another. But the NIMH notes that these are some of the more common symptoms of postpartum depression: • Certain feelings, such as sadness, hopelessness and emptiness or a sense of being overwhelmed • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason • Feeling worried or overly anxious • Moodiness, irritability or restlessness • Sleeping too much or being unable to sleep even when baby is asleep • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions • Feelings of anger or rage • Loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable • Trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby • Persistent doubts about her ability to care for her baby • Thinking about harming herself or her baby These are just some of the potential symptoms of postpartum depression. A more complete list is available at Only healthcare professionals can diagnose postpartum depression. New parents should consult their healthcare provider if they suspect new moms’ symptoms are indicative of postpartum depression. – Metro Creative

Strategies to overcome seasonal affective disorder PHOTO: METRO CREATIVE


inter can be an aweinspiring time of year. Snow-covered landscapes and opportunities to enjoy sports like skiing and snowboarding make winter a favorite time of year for nature enthusiasts and athletes. As fun as winter can be, many people struggle with the transition from warm weather and long, sunny days to cold weather and reduced hours of sunlight. Sometimes mistaken or misidentified as the “winter blues,” this phenomenon is known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER? According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, SAD is a type of depression. The NIH notes that a person must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least two years to be diagnosed with SAD. The

American Psychiatric Association says symptoms of SAD can be distressing and overwhelming and even interfere with daily functioning. The APA notes that SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain that’s prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As the seasons change, a shift in a person’s biological internal clock or circadian rhythm can lead to them being out of step with their normal routines. That can contribute to various symptoms, including: • Feeling sad or depressed • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed • Changes in appetite, usually eating more and craving carbohydrates • Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours

• Increase in purposeless physical activity or slowed movements or speech that may be noticed by others • Feeling worthless or guilty • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions • Thoughts of death or suicide OVERCOMING SAD The weather can’t be changed, but people can speak with their physicians about the following strategies to overcome SAD. • Light therapy: According to the APA, light therapy involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits a very bright light. In the winter, patients typically sit in front of the box for 20 minutes each morning, and they may see some improvements within one to two weeks of beginning treatment. Light therapy is usually continued throughout the winter.

• Medication: The APA notes that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a type of antidepressant that are sometimes prescribed to treat SAD. • Spending time outdoors: People with SAD who don’t typically spend much time outdoors when the temperatures dip may notice their symptoms improve if they make a concerted effort to spend time outdoors in winter. • Rearrange rooms in the home: The APA notes that rearranging rooms and furniture in a home or office to allow more natural light in during the daytime can help improve symptoms of SAD. SAD is a legitimate concern for millions of people across the globe. Working with a physician to overcome SAD can help people successfully transition to days with fewer hours of sunlight. – Metro Creative


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Mental Health Matters Preventive care involves safeguarding mental health


reventive care is often looked at through the needs people need to do to protect their physical wellbeing. For example, a healthy diet and routine exercise, while beneficial to mental health, are often viewed as lifestyle choices that can make people feel better physically. But taking steps to protect one’s mental health also is vital to a long, productive life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that positive mental health and mental wellness can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s life. Positive mental health can help people realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY MENTAL HEALTH? Learning to recognize the early warning signs of mental health problems can help prevent such problems from escalating and compel people to seek help. The DHHS advises anyone feeling these signs or recognizing these signs in others to seek help for themselves or their loved ones: • Eating or sleeping too much or

too little • Pulling away from people and usual activities • Having low or no energy • Feeling numb or as if nothing matters • Unexplained aches and pains • Feeling helpless or hopeless • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared • Yelling or fighting with family and friends • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships • Persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true • Thinking of harming yourself or others • An inability to perform daily tasks, such as taking care of your children or getting to work or school Taking steps to protect one’s mental wellness is a vital component of preventive care. More information about mental health is available at – Metro Creative

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“For all those who might continue to hold on to stigma associated with mental health and wellbeing, now is certainly the time to let that go. As a community and as individuals we need to be mindful of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on all of us, and work together to take the steps necessary to address these challenges. Above all, never be shy about asking for help. Mental health matters.” - Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

Free | Confidential | 24/7 | Toll-free: 1-866-686-0045 |

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Mental Health Matters

2021 Special Feature

Risk factors that can compromise mental wellness A

t the dawn of a new year, much is made about the popularity of resolutions focusing on improving physical fitness. While it’s important to be physically fit, a new year also marks a great time to examine one’s mental wellness. The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her society.” Men and women who are mentally unwell may find it difficult if not impossible to achieve their other goals, including those pertaining to their physical fitness. No one is immune to mental health problems, which the American Mental Wellness Association notes are never the result of a single risk factor. Many people whose mental wellness has been compromised are dealing with a variety of risk factors. The AMWA breaks down those risk factors into

four categories: biophysical, psychological, social, and spiritual. Learning these risk factors can help people learn more about themselves and might even compel them to seek help before their mental wellness is compromised. BIOPHYSICAL • Family history of mental health problems • Complications during pregnancy • Personal history of traumatic brain injury • Chronic medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes. Hypothyroidism or other brainrelated illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, also can compromise mental wellness • Use of alcohol or drugs • Poor nutrition • Lack of sleep PSYCHOLOGICAL • Stressful life situations, such as

Mental Health Matters

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financial problems or breaking the law • Traumatic life experiences, such as rape or serving in the armed forces • Low self-esteem, perceived incompetence and/or a negative view of life • Poor academic achievement SOCIAL • Being abused or neglected as a child • Being in an abusive relationship or friendship • Having few friends or few healthy relationships • Recent loss, either by death, divorce or other means • Bullying; both victims of bullying and perpetrators can be at risk for mental health problems • Growing up, or currently living, in poverty • Poor social skills, poor communication skills • Discrimination • Lack of access to support services

SPIRITUAL • Perception of being irredeemable or inherently flawed beyond repair • Perception of insignificance • Conflicting thoughts or doubts surrounding deep religious beliefs The good news for people who think their mental wellness has been compromised is that various treatments are available. Talk therapy or speaking with a peer who has had similar life experiences can help some people as they confront problems regarding their mental wellness. Information about additional treatments, including specialized therapies, is available at www. Fitness goals are popular New Year’s resolutions. But the start of a new year also marks a great time to consider one’s mental wellness. – Metro Creative

The University of Windsor is committed to creating a learning and working environment that promotes mental well-being and supports students and employees to achieve their full potential. Resources and supports provided help build resilience, enhance awareness and understanding of mental health, reduce stigma and foster a safe and supportive environment for all.

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