Wood's Homes Blog

Addictions Awareness Week: A Community of Caring

November 21, 2022

It's National Addictions Awareness Week (November 20-26, 2022). This year's theme, A Community of Caring, is about collaborating as a community to make meaningful changes for and help those with problematic substance use or who have a substance use disorder.

 

Being in an active addiction can be lonely and isolating. Many people feel shame and guilt about their addiction, and do not feel comfortable or safe to reach out for help. By creating professional and personal support in a holistic way, it is possible for those who struggle with addictions to feel safe enough to be unapologetically honest and open about what they need and how they feel.

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Reframing Bullying Prevention

November 16, 2022

When discussing bullying, our minds often jump to Pink Shirt Day and “zero-tolerance policies” that have continued to develop over the last few decades. Bullying is often labelled as negative behaviour, encompassing “malicious” or “mean” characteristics. All of us can agree that bullying has profoundly negative impacts on children and youth and that it is necessary to work towards ending it. Bringing awareness and zero-tolerance policies for bullying are a few of the ways that schools and organizations work towards eradicating these behaviours.

Although these zero-tolerance policies and Pink Shirt Day have existed for years, we all still work in a world with children and youth where we witnessing clients engage in bullying behaviours on a relatively regular basis. So, what needs to be shifted in the conversation?

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A Season of Change in Mental Health

October 10, 2022

Today is World Mental Health Day and the theme this year is to make Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority.

From it’s inception on October 10 1992, the day provides an opportunity to reflect on and to continue the important conversations about mental health that need to be had in our families and communities.

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Emotions in the Workplace

October 05, 2022

Did you flinch when you read the title of this blog post? I often get the sense from others that the emotional expression of professionals in the workplace is taboo. This intrigues me.

When I ask around, the most common thoughts about this is that there are limitations to staff emotions in the workplace. Wherever, whenever and however emotions are expressed, we have ideas about levels of appropriateness. Pairing labels of ‘limiting’ and ‘appropriateness’ with emotions raises further questions for me.

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 03, 2022

October 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to educating and informing Canadians about the reality of mental illness. Take part, learn more about mental illness, and discover resources and support.

 

When 'mental illness' is mentioned there are many reactions in society as to what this means. Invariably the conversation that ensues, if at all, can be often characterized as awkward, unsure, confusing and many other words that place mental illness in a category that continues to be not well understood.

When viewing mainstream media, mental health is mentioned far more often now and there are more discussions about this, its meaning and how to best mind one's own mental health and support others. There is power in the knowledge gained when this is discussed, and it can create an environment where mental health can be understood as synonymous with physical health and an understanding that as humans, we all have times when we struggle.

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Safe for now: How to help someone at risk of suicide

September 09, 2022

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year's theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. To empower people to take action to prevent suicide, our Crisis Counselling Team at Eastside Community Mental Health Services has written the following blog post on how to help someone at risk of suicide. If you or someone you care about needs help, call 403-299-9699.

 

Suicide is a topic that weighs heavily on our hearts. Not only does someone lose their life and future; friends, loved-ones, colleagues and community members are also impacted by grief and loss. Suicide is a difficult subject to approach because of the way it makes us feel. In some cultures, suicide is extremely taboo.

It’s important to remember that when someone is feeling suicidal, oftentimes it is not because they want to die. Rather, it’s to escape the pain and suffering they are experiencing.

How do we help that person? How can we move someone from a place of suicidal thoughts to a safety plan focused on preserving life?

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Integrating the voices of youth into clinical approaches: What young people can teach us about our mental health interventions

May 18, 2022

We recently recognized Mental Health Week and Child and Youth Mental Health Day this month, and we can’t think of a better thing to talk about than how youth can be part of the solution to improving our systems of support and intervention.

Recently, we’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work together with an incredible group of graduate students and youth co-researchers (all co-authors on this blog post) to consider approaches to clinical work with youth.

We got to sit in a virtual room and hear from youth about what they want and need from the adult mental health supports in their lives.

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A Season of Faith: Why trust is everything

December 24, 2021

Trust is a fundamental part of healthy development, beginning essentially from birth and is an aspect of relationships that we all manage regularly.

(A good article on the important life stages of trust is here.)

Trust has long been tied up in faith and tradition, something the holidays are very much steeped in.

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. 

(In a fascinating Q & A article, leading experts talk about vaccination hesitancy and how this has been created. Read it here.) The article basically speaks to the lack of trust in information we are getting about COVID, as well as those who deliver the message. 

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the children who are growing up in this environment. 

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Is it wrong to ‘lie’ to your kids about Santa?

December 22, 2021

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.  And then their father exclaimed in horror: “What do you mean there’s no Santa Claus???!“ Clearly, some habits really do die hard (or apparently not at all). 

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Plannedemic – International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31, 2021

As the Addictions Specialist at Wood's Homes, I continue to see the impact of opioids within the vulnerable youth and families we serve.

How do we support our clients to reduce the impact that it will have on their families?

How can I give support to my friends, family, and adults and youth in my life?

These are the questions that I am often asked in private by caregivers, foster parents, teachers, and co-workers.

My answer to these questions is to continually educate ourselves. Ask the hard questions. Be open to hearing another person’s truth with compassion. Do not judge.

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