Wood's Homes Blog

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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Strengths, Supports and Strategies: Parenting ADHD

January 14, 2021

“What’s the typical mental health and behaviour of a teenager?” is a question I often hear in my role as a Family Support Counsellor with Community Psychiatric Unit. Understanding when behavior deviates outside of a ‘normal’ range becomes a hot topic when parents are trying to better support their children after leaving the program. This question seems to be all the more complex and has a notable sense of urgency when Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a primary diagnosis.

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Addiction: An overview of key substances our young people are using

November 24, 2020

As Wood's Homes Addictions Specialist, one of the most common question I am asked, “What is an addiction?”

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (2020) defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence: the state of being addicted.”

However, I believe that a more appropriate definition would be “a negative coping strategy for ones trauma” and that by changing our perspective, we could help to remove the stigma, self-stigma and shame of users.

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Online fatigue during COVID-19

May 21, 2020

After a day of sessions on WebEx with the students from Wood's Homes' William Taylor Learning Centre (WTLC), and then a call to my son’s teachers to try and work out why he was struggling with his online school platform, I sat down and wondered why I was feeling so tired. Surely this feeling isn’t normal? After all, a pre-COVID-19 day at WTLC required a much more intense level of engagement and usually a lot more paperwork, so why was I feeling so tired?

I’ve read many articles recently about various facets of COVID-19 and mental health issues, so a further search began. I have to say, I felt an enormous sense of relief when I found information on a new buzzword: Zoom Fatigue.

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Let’s talk about mental health

January 29, 2020

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day – an annual campaign by Bell Canada to engage Canadians in the conversation around mental health.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for anyone suffering from mental illness is stigma, and the negative attitudes (prejudice) and negative behaviour (discrimination) attached to it.

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Male suicide: The silent epidemic

September 06, 2019

Male suicide has been referred to as a silent epidemic by academics Dan Bilsker, PhD and Jennifer White EdD. The pair published a study in the B.C. Medical Journal in December 2011, and attribute the high rate of occurrence of men ending their lives and the general public’s lack of awareness about this issue, as the reasons behind why the moniker is so appropriate. This blog will examine some statistics of note and highlight some steps that can be taken in hopes of ameliorating this national crisis.

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The importance of play in child development

August 08, 2019

A one-year-old is exploring a basket filled with various swatches of fabric. A five-year-old is playing pretend restaurant with her aunt. An eight-year-old and her friend are working together to build a fort. What do all of these situations have in common? Yes, they are all examples of children playing, but they are also all examples of children engaging in powerful learning and developing their brain through play. Mr. Rogers said that “Play is the work of childhood”, and I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Play is a means through which children can learn new concepts, work through emotions, develop social skills, gain an understanding of others and learn language.

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