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Diversity and Mental Health

In September 2017, Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah was interviewed for 3 separate episodes for Mental Health Matters through CMHA Champlain East Division.

The 1st episode of our Founder's interview aired on November 22nd.   Mental Health Matters is a local TV program in Cornwall, Ontario, where various topics about Mental Health are discussed.  Season 4 of Mental Health Matters themed around Diversity.  

There are 11 episodes for this Season and it began to air  on October 10th,  World Mental Health Day. Our Founder will be seen again on YourTV Cornwall  in the middle of December for two episodes as she discusses Cultural Sensitivity ,Diversity when it comes to Mental Health and how to facilitate services within your community.

Note:

Full interviews will be posted once the Season is uploaded on Mental Health Matters website.

Anxiety, Depression & PTSI – The Silent & Dark Nights During The Holiday Season

 Honour The Space You're In

Beautiful colours, the smell of fresh Christmas trees, Carolers singing, the malls filled with people, the ceremonous get togethers with family and friends. Sounds like the most wonderful time of year, but is it really?

Bright lights that shines on our faces constricts ones vision; the smell of fireplaces are a reminder of what the crackling noises meant in our heads, the filled in rooms with people with hundreds of conversations going all at once; the room filled with love, yet constantly noticing ignorance. "Can anyone see me?"

A few examples of how one may look at the holiday season is not necessarily easy for another. The impact of what Anxiety, Depression and PTSI can greatly affect someone's ability to see the beauty of a holiday season. So how do we manage ourselves or help the ones we love during the stressors of the holiday? Here are a few but effective suggestions:

  • Acknowledging The Emotion We Are In
  • Owning the Emotion We Are Feeling
  • Grounding Ourselves with Affirmations of Safeness
  • Scaling Out Our Fears, Frustration, Depression, Anxiety, with the ones with love
  • Excusing ourselves from the situation without apologizing on How We Feel
  • Recognizing that Pre-Triggers exist - Your Body is Telling You Something - even before your triggers rise up.
  • Creating a "on the go" Coping Box when you are unable to remove yourself from the location you are at.
  • Repeating To Yourself That "It's Okay To Not Be Okay Right Now"
  • Close Your Eyes, Open Your Arms, And Breathe - bringing back and grounding back to simplicity can be more effective than planning.

Creating a Tool Box – One Creative Way To Manage Anxiety

When the outside world is in chaos, how do we center ourselves from the noise? 

We call it "The Coping Box" .  A box filled with certain things that would be able to assist in managing any form anxiety.  The box can be big, small and it can even be a compact box for you to travel with.   Here are a few ideas on what to add in your coping box:

  • Self Smoothness- comforting things that carries the 5 senses for instance, something to smell like candles; something to hear like music, something to touch like lava beads.
  • Distraction: keeping your mind off things while focusing on something like putting together a puzzle, artwork, inspiring quotes
  • Emotional Awareness : expressing your feelings such as journaling, drawing, poetry writing.
  • Crisis Plan - contact information of support and resources when coping skills aren't enough such as connecting with a Therapist, A Doctor, a Friend, A Distress Line and 911.

Anxiousness often subsides, but when we are in the moment, it feels like an eternity. Validate that feeling! It's okay to not be okay right now. Your emotions are part of you, therefore it is meaningful no matter how big or small.

What Do Therapists Provide? – A Perspective From A Registered Social Worker

 A recent article from The Global News theorized the differences between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist and a Therapist.  The article came from a perspective of a Psychologist who is through a regulated body.  What is a regulated body? Regulated body is a place where Professionals are under an Affiliated College that provides code of conducts, ethics, guidelines, educational workshops when a person is providing a professional service.  For instance, Physicians are affiliated with their Province (Ontario as an example)/State College, like Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.  Another example , there are different forms of Therapists that are under different Colleges as well, like Psychotherapists are often affiliated with College of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario and Therapists that have a Social Work background are affiliated with the College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers of Ontario.

But what are the differences?  Besides the Affiliated College, it depends on what a Professional is specializing in. For the purpose of keeping this simple, we are taking the perspective of a Therapist who has a Social Work background.

Social Workers have often been associated with Child Protection Services, Hospital settings and schools. However, there is another perspective of Social Workers that are often ignored.  Social Workers who successfully obtain a Graduate Degree in Psychology or Social Work, can also become a Registered Therapist.

Social Workers who become Therapist are allowed by their affiliated College to call themselves varies Professional Names, such as Registered Social Workers, Therapist, and  Mental Health Counsellor.

Social Workers have the knowledge and training in providing various forms of Therapy such as, Individual, Couple, Family, Group Therapy.  Therapy approaches that a Social Worker can also use but not limited are as follows:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Exposure Therapy

Play Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Mindfulness

EMDR

Person-Centered Therapy (Client-Centered)

 

Therapists comes from all walks of life and provides numerous areas of expertise.  Clients have always a choice in choosing what kind of Mental Health Professional they require in becoming a better and stronger individuals.

 

Education is the key to Awareness and Awareness is the key to Accepting Who You Are!

 

 

 

The Truth About Human Trafficking in Canada

80 percent of Airbnb in Vancouver are being used for exploitation.  

 

On Friday October 27, 2017 Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah attended a Full Day Seminar on Working with Trafficked Persons:  Dynamics and Best Practices.  Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Program Larissa Maxwell was the Guest Speaker for the Day.  Larissa spoke a lot about the difference between Trauma Informed Care  and the necessity of Mental Health Professionals to use Trauma Sensitive Care especially dealing with victims and survivors of Human Trafficking. Trauma Sensitive Care includes specifically designed Therapeutic strategies, building autonomy, compassion are a few examples.

There are three forms of Human Trafficking:

Sexual Exploitation,

Labour, and Organ.

The most known is Sexual Human Trafficking.  A 2005 Canadian Statistics study showed numbers in regards to Human Trafficking that were before the Courts are astonishing!  Out of 360 identifed 341 were Canadians related cases; 111 were underage and the numbers are rising.

 

Human Trafficking often has a result where some victims become the one who victimizes another. The cycle can continue, however Trauma Sensitive Care, can bring back the humanity in the horrific human acts placed upon them.

 

We often hear “walk a mile in my shoes” when we describe our own hardships, hurdles, complexity of life, trauma, but what happens when we actually understand that phrase. We build empathy, we learn there are two truths, we learn about someone’s trigger, or as Larissa Maxwell suggested “activating thoughts/emotions”; we learn to listen when someone tells their story; we learn to unravel the pain, and we learn to heal.

Excerpt: Information provided through Larissa Maxwell and her Organization Deborah’s Gate that is located in an undisclosed Location for those who have been traumatized through Human Trafficking.

 

Attachment and Trauma Conference

Healing Is Much More Than Words – Daniel Seigel

Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah recently attended an International Conference regarding Attachment and Trauma: The Neurobiology of Healing. The Conference had 11 Speakers and over 1200 Professionals from various backgrounds attended the Conference.  The main theme throughout the 3 days was that there is a neurobiology connection between attachment, trauma and healing.

Mental Health In The WorkPlace – When Corporate Initiatives Are Not Enough

Within 7 days at any given time about 1/2 million employees in Canada call in sick due to mental health.  Issues run from anxiety, depression to simple burn out due to high demands on the job.  Many employees dealing with mental health often are present in the workforce but not fully present in their job performance, that increases the stress onto them especially when other employees and employers are not aware of the mental health deterioration and ignorance come into play by stating to the employee that they either, not performing their duties, threats of demotion, threats of layoffs. A vicious cycle that has a high risk of increasing mental health deterioration in the workplace.

 

Many organizations and agencies have brought forth the conversation of mental health, yet some even most are often a quick fix to ensure that employees remain to do the job without organizations paying out for sick leave.  In the Mental Health Profession we often say that not one size fits all, so why are we allowing organizations to advertise Mental Health this way to their employees?! For example promoting yoga as a mental health wellness to all employees may temporarily assist to their own mental health but not all would fit into this category. An individualized approach is a far better way to deal with mental health in the workplace and a far better outcome than a band-aid affect.  For instance, no two employees would recover the same way from a mental health trauma. Everyone heals differently.

 

So how do we approach individualized Mental Health assistance in the Workplace? It is simple. Like any physical injury, we ensure the employee that they will receive help where it seems fit to their needs without judgement, or alterations of their job description. According to Mental Health Commission of Canada, states that about 30 percent of short term and long term disability claims are based on mental health issues and illnesses. With an individualized approach an employee may feel like they are being heard instead of giving them a corporate plan of what they need to do to better their mental health with risking their job.  Non-judgement is essential in mental health in the workplace, it is only then we can help our employees feel safe to speak about their own mental health crisis. THIS IS HOW WE HEAL!!

You Are Not Alone!

Mental Health Day with Ottawa Probation and Parole Officers

On September 28, 2017, Founder and Therapist Of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah spoke to Ottawa and Area Probation and Parole Officers about Mental Health in the Workplace.

Everyone Has a Story on how we became the person we are today. It is that very story that not only changes our lives, it helps others know they are not alone!

A raw, heavy emotional day but with this, it showed that our struggles are real and that we must be okay to feel uncomfortable to the idea of talking about our own mental health.

It is in our healing that we find our freedom.

Group picture was taken to advise each other and to others in the Probation and Parole Profession that they are not alone, you Matter, your story matters, your feelings matter, your life matters!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank The morning Speaker an Army Veteran who served in the Canadian Military for 21 years and spoke so candidly about their struggle, the passion, the mental health injury, the hardships and the healing. Special thanks goes out to Elana, a Probation Officer who started this very conversation with our Founder about bringing Mental Health Talk To the forefront for Probation and Parole Officers who are often left unheard and on the sidelines.

We heard you and we hope that if anything , know , YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

3 Steps Forward, 6 Steps Back: The Art of Gratitude and Accomplishments

When we are often in the midst of our own darkness being grateful and seeing our triumphs are much harder to visualize.  We often hear from others including Professionals to implement a gratitude journal, as it may add some light to what we are made of, yet does it really work?!

 

In the Oprah generation the art of gratitude was quite predominant in the late 90’s.  An idea that entertained that if an individual implements gratefulness in their daily lives, things become a little easier, hurdles don’t look like challenges but lessons.

The downfall of gratitude is when we take a few steps back from healing, the art of gratitude is gone and we begin again from the bottom up. Yes, some may say this is a vicious cycle and some may say, it okay to stumble backwards.

 

The art of gratitude, is knowing that it is okay to step forward and back and rather seeing it as a “Oprah Generation” to know that even when we fall, it’s our accomplishments that guides us to get right back up and say ” 3 Steps Forward, 6 Steps Back – I AM OKAY WITH THAT – now, that is the art of Gratitude.

Upcoming Events

Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah will be participating  in a number of Events in September.

September 9th, 2017 – Speaking and Supporting Local FireFighters with First Responders Family Resiliency Support Group Ottawa

September 22nd, 2017– On Air with Local Cogeco Tv,  discussing Mental Health and Diversity.

September 28th, 2017 – Speaking to Ottawa and Area Provincial Probation Officers, and Federal Parole Officers, regarding Mental Health in the Workplace, and Trauma.