Mental Health Mission Statement: “Working together with community partners to provide mental health services and promote wellness.”
At the Welland McMaster Family Health Team we have two social workers and a mental health nurse available to provide services to our patients. They also work together with the dietitian, occupational therapist, pharmacist, and nurses to provide a comprehensive and holistic (treatment of the whole person) approach to your care. We also partner with many community agencies to ensure that your needs are addressed through the most appropriate service.
A psychiatrist recently joined our team! Dr. David Healy is a leading international psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist.
His area of expertise is in sustainable treatment options for mental health disorders. This includes both medications and lifestyle, as well as other options.
If you want a more detailed mental health consult than usual that might open up new treatment options, ask your doctor if a referral is possible.
Groups, Programs and Workshops
We offer many programs, groups and workshops to our patients, all free of charge (parking costs still apply). For additional information about dates and locations, or to register, contact FHT Reception at 905-734-9699 ext. 3
Mindfulness and Meditation during COVID-19
Jon Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness as the awareness that arises from paying attention to the body in the present moment, non-judgementally. By focusing on the breath, the idea is to cultivate attention on the body and mind as it is, moment by moment, and so to help with pain and stress, both physical and emotional.
Mindful Breathing - A way to build resilience to stress, anxiety, pain and anger.
Time Required - 5 - 15 minutes daily as a suggested start point.
How to Do it
The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and the exhale. You can do this while standing, or in daily activities, but ideally taking time for a breath meditation in a comfortable position is suggested. It can help to set aside a designated time for a mindfulness meditation, particularly if you are stressed or anxious. Experts believe that a regular practice of mindful breathing can make it easier to do it in difficult situations.
Sometimes, especially when trying to calm yourself in a stressful moment, it might help to start by taking a more exaggerated breath: a deep inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds), hold your breath (2 seconds) and a long exhale through your nose or mouth (4 seconds). Otherwise simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; it may help to focus on the rise or fall of the chest or abdomen or on the nostrils. As you do, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s ok. Just notice what is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
For guided mindfulness meditations, see Tara Brach's website: www.tarabrach.com/pandemic
For a guided mindfulness meditation delivered by our own Occupational Therapist, click on this link: 13-Minute Intro to Mindfulness
For a guided mindfulness meditation about Mindful Eating, delievered by our own Social Worker, click on this link: Mindful Eating
The Importance of Self-Compassion during COVID-19
Getting Back to Nature during COVID-19
Our resident Forest Therapy Guide suggests that just because you might be stuck inside during self-isolation, doesn't mean you can't benefit from the calming effects of nature.
Check out these YouTube videos for calming sights and sounds of nature:
If you are not under self-isolation protocols, spending time in nature is a safe activity as long as you maintain social distancing rules. Spend time in your yard, get your garden ready for spring, or check out local hiking trails.
In British Columbia, doctors are prescribing time in nature! Let's hope this catches on here in Ontario: www.parkprescriptions.ca
Going for a hike? This is a fun app to use to help identify plants/animals you may come across:
https://www.inaturalist.org/ - fun for everyone
Getting the kids outside? This is a fun app for the kids to use in their nature adventures:
Virtual Forest Therapy walks in real time: www.natureandforesttherapy.org/virtual-forest-therapy-walks
30-Minute recorded Forest Therapy walk: www.forestbathinginternational.org
Spend time in nature to improve your health and wellness! Lead by a Social Worker who is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, our Forest Therapy sessions are available monthly from April to November.
Many studies have shown that spending time in natural settings has important health and wellness benefits, such as:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens immune system
- Reduces pain
- Improves sleep
- Decreases stress
- Reduces feelings of anger and aggression
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Improves concentration and memory function
Forest therapy isn’t about exercise for the body, but it is exercise for the soul. It is a guided stroll through the forest with a focus on Mindfulness techniques.
Recommended for all ages and abilities.
This is a how-to guide for helping people who struggle with their eating. It takes a cognitive behavioural approach to emotional eating and focuses on why you eat, not what you eat. Our Dietitian and Social Worker run Craving Change. The group consists of one (1) two-hour session per week for four (4) weeks. Speak with your doctor or contact FHT Reception for more information and to register.
Cognitive Therapy for Depression
This program is based on a cognitive behavioural model and is designed to help patients take steps to manage their depression and live fuller lives. Each participant will work on individualized goals and coping strategies and will receive a take-home workbook to assist them in this process. The program consists of one (1) hour and a half session per week for four (4) weeks. Speak with your doctor or contact FHT Reception for more information and to register.
This group uses cognitive behavioural therapy approaches to help patients learn coping strategies to self-manage their anxiety. It is lead by our Social Worker and Mental Health Nurse and consists of weekly two-hour sessions for eight (8) weeks. Speak with your doctor or contact FHT reception for more information and to register.