Wood's Homes Blog

My journey with mental illness: Mental health support is life-changing

October 07, 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.


Mental health is a lifelong journey. Our mental health can change throughout our lives, and we may find ourselves with unexpected symptoms of mental illness.

Living with mental illness can be isolating and make it hard to find help to manage the symptoms. There are many resources for mental health help but finding the right type of support or treatment can also be difficult.

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Introducing our Director of Philanthropy and Community: Bryan Goehringer

April 14, 2022

Please join us in welcoming our new Director of the Wood’s Homes Foundation: Bryan Goehringer!

Bryan comes to Wood’s Homes as Director of Philanthropy and Community, reporting to our CEO, Bjorn Johansson. He will work with our Foundation Board, Investment Committee and New Initiatives Committee, as well as oversee Wood’s Homes Fundraising and Community Engagement.

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How to change your own mind

March 11, 2022

Happy Social Work Week!

There are a lot of social workers here at Wood’s Homes – over 70 of us, in fact. With so many of us walking through so many doors of the so many programs and services throughout the day (and night), it is no surprise that social work values are reflected in our agency values. So, too, does social work practice influence our collective practice.

Reflective practice is a cornerstone of social work practice. In short, reflective practice is an iterative process whereby the individual reflects on their work (and the work of their team), critically evaluates it (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and incorporates the subsequent learnings into their future work.

Reflective practice is the underpinning of good post-crisis work, good supervision, good leadership and good clinical work. However, reflective practice can also be painful. If you aren’t intentional (and sometimes even if you are), your inner defender can squash the process…or you can get sucked into a shame hole. Over time, though, it pays off in spades.

In considering our agency’s safety journey over the last couple years, the pain and pay-off of reflective practice is clear. It hurt to look in the mirror – especially at first. Nevertheless, over time, it became easier. The processes and opportunities for reflective practice took hold and propelled us forward.

Look how far we’ve come.

So, in the spirit of social work week, consider your own reflective practice. For inspiration, please enjoy Josh Golding’s account of his own reflective journey and his tips on the very difficult task of changing your own mind.

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Driving Change Together

November 26, 2021

It's National Addictions Awareness Week.

This year’s theme, Driving Change Together, encourages everyone to reassess the way they think about substance use.

Through Wood’s Homes, I was able to connect with a group of people my age who wanted a future free from addiction and felt excited about process of Driving Change Together.

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The Power of Peer Mentorship

November 25, 2021

Who is the expert in the field of addictions?

It has been a dream to lead an Addictions Program that recognizes past clients of the program as experts. The Addictions Peer Mentor role allows for lived experience to be front and centre. Their involvement in the work of addictions is critical to evidence-informed activities.

Having an Addictions Peer Mentor is empowering because they deeply understand the youth we serve. They apply an alternative approach to addictions and act as a confidant who motivates our clients and inspires change.

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We need others to help us see what we don’t see

April 30, 2021

In her TedXWomen’s talk ‘A Realistic Vision for World Peace’, Jody Williams reframes the concept of peace as human security – sustainable, with justice, equity and “freedom from fear”. And in order to achieve peace, we must take action. For rarely is there “hope without endeavour” or “hope of change, unless we take action to make it so”.

I found her vision of peace reminiscent of our vision at Wood’s Homes: A world that values and nurtures the mental health of all people and when needed, ensures quality, timely help for all. I’ve observed that all of us instinctively want to "reclaim the meaning of peace" and carry a vision of a more sustainable and more equitable world, and know that we must work to make our vision a reality.

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When your well is empty: Empathy in the time of COVID-19

April 12, 2021

COVID-19 has impacted all people and every aspect of life. One of the significant impacts has been for people who have huge hearts, or deep wells of empathy. For many of us, we have felt that well running dry. People are having to dig a little deeper into their reserves in order to choose kindness. So what do you do when you find yourself quicker to be irritated, faster to fall into frustration, just generally annoyed more frequently than typical?

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Stepping forward to help: Staff experiences from Wood's Homes Pandemic Team

March 11, 2021

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social service organizations – such as Wood’s Homes – have been challenged to keep pace with ever-evolving public health policy and protocols, while also maintaining focus on the effective delivery of our mental health services.

Over the last year, Wood’s Homes has been shoulder-to-shoulder with other children’s mental health congregate care programs and has been faced with positive COVID-19 cases in our live-in programs. Faced with this challenge, senior leadership put out a call to all staff, looking for ‘trailblazers.’ These would be frontline workers who were prepared to join Wood’s Homes Pandemic Team – a team of employees who were able to commit to working (up to one month) in a program where there was a positive COVID-19 case.

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How I coped with being pregnant during the pandemic

March 03, 2021

I found out I was pregnant on July 27, 2020.

My husband, Dylan, and I had never been so excited – after 11 years together, we were finally taking the next step in our journey as a couple and becoming parents. At that time, it appeared as though the global COVID-19 pandemic was slowing down – active case numbers were low, provincial restrictions were lifted and life was pretty much the same as it was before the pandemic (aside from the face masks, of course). Yes, we knew that COVID-19 was still here and could potentially be around for many months to come; however, many of the fears and anxieties we had in the spring were slowly disappearing as we saw case numbers decline.

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The last people standing

February 24, 2021

If you remember the last entry in this series, I spoke about how using a substance is a negative maladaptive strategy to cope with trauma.  

Now that we’re in our second lockdown, many of us may be thinking about some of the things we’ve given up over the past year – hugging friends and family members, meeting a child born during the lockdown or celebrating the life of a loved one who passed away – and for some, it may be a long list.

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