Canadian Mental Health: SWA’s Approach

Even a suspicion of mental illness in yourself or someone you care about can bring up a mess of emotions like fear, helplessness, frustration, or relief that there’s a cause behind the symptoms.

Getting factual information and a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional is an important place to start.

Despite the growing fight against stigma, many people are still reluctant to talk about what they’re feeling with others – even their doctors. But knowing the answers to questions can be empowering, and effective treatment can help put a life back on track.

Canadian Mental Health: Getting a diagnosis

The first step in getting a diagnosis is a comprehensive evaluation that considers symptoms in the context of other circumstances: genetic risks, medical history, possible environmental impacts, and how those symptoms have progressed.

Referring in part to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — a regularly-updated book that describes all mental health issues that can affect children and adults — a professional will work to find the root cause of your symptoms so it can be treated.

Finding the right solutions

When it comes to treatment, “we don’t strive to recreate the wheel — we just want to use what works,” said Jeffrey Waplak, Clinical Director for Stevenson, Waplak & Associates.  “We focus on evidence-based practices that are already proven.”

There are different types of treatment available, some medicinal and others are not. “We collaborate with each client to create a treatment plan that’s effective for them, based on what current research indicates,” explained Waplak. This could include:

  • individual or group counselling (cognitive-behavioral therapy),
  • a combination of therapy and medication,
  • therapy and specific educational interventions (like coping strategies), or
  • health-related strategies, like vitamin treatments.

Youth who come into care, have access to a residential treatment program that takes a multi-directional approach: Clinical care, child/youth work, and psychiatric and educational initiatives.

This is a leading approach to foster care based on evidence that shows a family-modeled setting leads to better outcomes for kids.

Canadian Mental Health continues to run up against many challenges — but things are changing. To find out how we can help, connect with us on Twitter or call 613-967-0545.