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"what's up clinic" in pink and blue text on a yellow background below the Yorktown Family Services logo
News
What’s Up clinic: a mental health support program for clients and families at Holland Bloorview

As part of a partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Yorktown Family Services (YFS) is offering a weekly mental health support clinic for ambulatory clients and their parents/caregivers. The What’s Up clinic was launched in September and offers in-person and virtual brief counselling sessions every Thursday afternoon between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

We had a conversation with Sheelagh Jamieson and Heidi Schwellnus, collaborative practice leaders at Holland Bloorview and Rebecca Weintraub, family, child and youth therapist from Yorktown Family Services about this exciting new program:

Can you tell us more about the What’s Up clinic?

Rebecca

We offer counselling for families, parents, children, youth and clients going thorough a variety of challenges. We help them identify what their goal is and support them to meet their goal.  These challenges can range from personal stress and family conflict to challenges at home and at school.  We also see a lot of parents affected by their child’s experience at school.  Their child may be having difficulty transitioning to school in person or may be experiencing academic or social difficulties.  We can help parents feel empowered to support their child to navigate those challenges.

Why is it important to address mental health?

Rebecca

It’s important to address mental health because everything is connected to mental health. When your mental health is in a good place, then everything else seems to work out, everything feels more balanced. It affects your physical health as well.

Sheelagh and Heidi

Mental health initiatives started at Holland Bloorview a number of years before the pandemic. We recognized the importance of mental health particularly in children with disabilities and their families and caregivers. There aren’t a lot of supports tailored for our clients. One of the silver linings of the pandemic, if you can look for one, is the heightened awareness of the importance of mental health, so people are beginning to see that mental health is health!

Rebecca

If parents are taking care of their mental health needs and prioritizing their self-care and well-being, then they’re able to be fully present for the benefit of their children and loved ones.
 

What does brief solution focused mental health mean?

Rebecca

Single session counselling means if you need counselling right away, you don’t have to wait, as opposed to ongoing, long-term counselling.  For example, parents, youth children and/or families may seek single-session counselling support regarding personal and or family stress, challenges at home or at school or challenges with family communication. In addition, clients may seek coping techniques, resources and strategies or wish to learn how to communicate in a way that is more positive for the family.

Sheelagh and Heidi

Although it’s a single session, if a client needs more sessions, they can book more sessions as needed.


What are the ultimate goals/ objectives of this project?

Sheelagh and Heidi

  • We hope to reduce stigma around mental health and help our clients and caregivers feel more comfortable to come for counselling
  • The ultimate goal is to support our partner(s) to provide our clients and caregivers with mental health services which are accessible and able to support their unique needs.
  • To connect clients and caregivers with a What’s Up walk-in clinic in their neighbourhood

 

Rebecca

  • We also connect clients to other programs offered here at Holland Bloorview which are beneficial and relevant to them.
  • We provide a confidential service where clients and families can receive brief mental health support. We also provide a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to share their values, hopes, wishes and what they feel is important for them. Clients end up being empowered by doing so.
  • As a therapist, my philosophy of practice is the belief that clients are the experts of their own lives.

 

How do people book an appointment for the What’s Up clinic?

Sheelagh and Heidi

Based on requests we’ve had for virtual appointments, we have begun to offer that option to families. The booking process remains the same. The appointments will still be on Thursdays afternoons, from 1 – 4 p.m.

To book an appointment, for in-person or virtual session, they can call: 416-425-6220 ext. 3166 or email: bookingwhatsup@hollandbloorview.ca

 

Why is Holland Bloorview partnering with Yorktown Family Services?

Sheelagh and Heidi

Holland Bloorview has worked very successfully together in the past with Yorktown Family Services. We want to build and enhance our community of supports, and Yorktown brings expertise and experience in the mental health field which complements ours in working with people with disabilities. Hence, the two organizations together is a very good partnership.
 

About Yorktown Family Services

Yorktown Family Services is a fully accredited community service agency comprised of an infant, child and youth mental health centre; a women’s shelter and community-based violence against women services; and an integrated services site offering rapid access to multiple mental health, primary health and social service programs for youth and young adults. For 30 years, Yorktown has been providing immediate access to a wide range of services in Toronto’s most vulnerable communities to support and equip women, children, youth and families to create positive change in their lives.