Your mental health and substance team is made up of a variety of people from different areas of expertise.
Who are the people on my care team?
Your mental health and substance team is made up of a variety of people from different areas of expertise. We like to consider you a part of that team.
Here are some of the people who may be working with you along your mental health/substance use treatment and recovery journey:
When you contact one of our mental health and substance use centres for the first time, you will meet with an intake worker who will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, assess your condition, identify how to start your treatment and refer you to community resources, as needed.
Case managers coordinate community-based services to provide individually-customized mental health care for you if you are experiencing frequent setbacks or persistent challenges in your recovery. A case manager can be a nurse, social worker or other professions.
Registered or certified counsellors teach skills to improve well-being. They will assess mental health problems and use different counselling methods to help you manage and overcome emotional issues. They cannot diagnose and prescribe medication.
Psychiatrists are doctors specially trained in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They can prescribe medication and use counselling to support recovery.
Pharmacists are professionals who have special training in medications. They can help you understand how your medications work and what you can expect from your medication treatment. They can also help you identify potential side effects.
Psychologists provide testing and assessment of emotional and brain functioning, diagnosis of mental health disorders and treatment. They often specialize in an area such as family or relationship issues and individual therapies. They cannot prescribe medication.
Nurses are trained in psychiatry as well as general medicine to do medical or psychiatric assessments and treatment. Psychiatric nurses are especially trained in mental health, medications, and therapies to assist patients in managing their illness.
Social workers assess clients’ histories, backgrounds and situations to understand their needs, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. They work with individuals, and their families to develop plans and help individuals understand the link between their current situation, their environment, social, economic, emotional, cultural and spiritual connections.
Social workers provide counselling and therapeutic support. They support individuals around navigating systems (moving through) and link individuals to resources or services to support their needs.
Your family doctor is the best place to start if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of mental illness. They can rule out any other causes for your symptoms, and can prescribe medication, do limited counselling and refer you to a psychiatrist or other special services, if needed. Your doctor is also often the best place to continue your recovery once you are feeling more stable.
Occupational therapists help people to live life to the fullest, by helping them to overcome challenges that may occur as a result of illness, injury or disability. Examples include helping you build on your living skills, such as meal preparation, shopping or using the transit system.
Physical therapists help you maintain your physical activity or overcome physical challenges that may occur from illness, injury or disability. They can help you to increase your own awareness of healthy living and support you to become physically independent.
Vocational rehabilitation worker
Vocational rehabilitation worker, or employment counsellor, can help you identify your work interests, access job opportunities and prepare you for job applications and interviews.
Therapeutic recreational therapist
Therapeutic recreation practitioners (RecTs) work with you and your family to provide support that is focused on your leisure interests, strengths and needs.
Peer support workers
Peer support workers have “lived experience” of mental illness and its treatment. They provide you with a sense of connection and understanding, and how to better manage challenges along the way.