Wood's Homes Blog
The goal of Psychology Month is to raise awareness of the role that psychology plays in our lives, our schools, our communities and our employment. It provides a good opportunity for public education and promotion of the profession. Mental health professionals come in all shapes and sizes. At Wood’s Homes, treatment and support teams include a range of interdisciplinary professionals – social workers, psychologists, counsellors, youth and family counsellors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, creative arts therapists and on and on.
As our new year began, there were a lot of grumblings about how the clock was moving forward but we were all still locked in time. Sayings like, ‘2022 = 2020, too’, were both true and a little demoralizing. I have written before that Blue Monday isn’t real, but if you are feeling a little less excited about 2022, I think that it is worth talking about.
As the latest variant Omicron looms large over our festive season, we are all facing difficult decisions about trust and about social gatherings, which is heavily layered in conversations about vaccination. Don’t worry, this isn’t a blog about getting vaccinated, but rather one that looks at the complicated relationships we have with our friends, family and ultimately news sources and government about who or what we trust when it comes to our safety.
One of the glories of living with teenagers is the interesting conversations you can have around the holiday table. Last year, it was all about the morality of telling kids that there is a Santa Claus when (spoiler alert) there isn’t one. It started with one of the oldest declaring that her future children would not be told that Santa is real, because “that’s just a huge lie”. This was of course followed by the other kids talking about what they used to believe and how it felt to find out.
It’s National Addictions Awareness Week. This year’s theme, Driving Change Together, encourages everyone to reassess the way they think about substance use. As we acknowledge how addiction impacts families and communities, let’s not forget the experience of the client. Everyone deserves a future free from addiction.
Peer mentorship is grounded in the belief that hope and support is the starting point for enhancing wellbeing. Although everyone’s experience and journey is unique, our Peer Mentors at Wood’s Homes cultivate an environment of inclusion and belonging, inspire hope, and demonstrate the potential for success while relating to the challenges and stigma associated with mental illness and/or substance abuse.
Recently, I paid my first visit to Capitol Hill, a program that works with children under 12. This home in the community is a short-term safe refuge for these little ones who are behaviourally at-risk and have broken down or are at risk of breaking down their current caregiver placements.
Thanksgiving is a time when many of us reflect on what we’re most thankful for. It reminds us of how special and beautiful our lives are even when we are faced with challenging and stressful situations. We often look for coping tools to get through tough times, and being thankful is especially important in the midst of a pandemic when the world around us is unpredictable. At Wood’s Homes, the joy of working with children, youth and families, the support we receive from our loyal and generous community tops our list.
Parents experience tremendous amounts of stress when their children are facing mental health challenges and are often unclear on where to start or who to talk to. Although we are fortunate to have a number of mental health support services available, families continue to struggle alone as the fragmented nature of the mental health system makes it challenging to obtain the information and supports needed.
The past year has brought tremendous obstacles and challenges for all us. Working within the Emergency department of the Alberta Children’s Hospital has been no exception.
As we entered the new world of COVID-19 in March 2020, we, as a community, did so with caution and uncertainty. This was evident in the Emergency department; the hustle and bustle we once knew became a solemn void. We witnessed a collective apprehension towards attending the hospital.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns and restrictions have been hard on all of us. We’ve all experienced increased stress and previously unforeseen challenges in our personal and work lives. But through all of it, Wood’s Homes and its staff have come together to support one another and find new and innovative ways to complete our work and continue serving our clients.
Threats to mental health are not experienced equally among or between populations. We have seen that the health and mental health consequences of COVID-19 has been more pronounced in underserved and vulnerable groups, and that socio-economic impacts have disproportionately affected the poor, displaced and marginalized. And yet, all evidence to the contrary, we continue to carry our vision of peace – mental health services that promote and restore the well-being of all people, especially those who are farthest behind.