Now that I have been referred - what happens?

A: After you have been referred to our service we will schedule to see you for a comprehensive assessment.

What is involved with a "Comprehensive Assessment?"

A: All services begin with a comprehensive assessment.  Assessment is a crucial but sometimes overlooked part of mental health treatment.  Assessment is collaborative - it involves you and you are critical in providing the information on the problem to help us make sure that you get the best treatment available.  Most failures in treatments begin with failing to adequately assess what the problem is at the beginning.  An assessment typically involves a clinician (social worker, nurse, or occupational therapist) who gathers information about what the problem is now and also information about the problem in the past in addition to health information.  We also use some questionnaires and checklists to gather additional information besides just speaking with you.  After this is done, the clinician may have some feedback for you but most likely you will have a follow-up appointment with the clinician and psychiatrist to review the information and clarify anything that is missing.  Together with the clinician and psychiatrist we will be able to review potential treatment options at the clinic or elsewhere if we do not provide the services you need.

Do I have to tell my story again????

A: The short answer is "yes."  It is very difficult to understand someone, the problem, and what is needed or wanted without hearing the story.  All mental health professionals must complete their own assessment to ensure that what they are suggesting for treatment is actually needed, helpful, and not harmful.  We do not make people "tell their story again" unless it helpful for us to understand the problem to help figure out solutions with you.

It may be helpful to think about retelling the story as something that is actually helpful rather than 'annoying' or frightening.  Many effective mental health treatments involve, on purpose, retelling the story of the problem.

Whether retelling is challenging for you or not - we understand that this can be unpleasant AND we can help.

Is my information confidential - even if I'm under 18?

A: Generally all information you provide us is confidential and protected by many laws designed to protect your privacy.  As long as you are able to make decisions about your healthcare - you are the person (irrespective of age) who decides who can and cannot receive information about your care and treatment.  For information to be released to another by us you normally need to provide your consent or permission in writing.  There are some exceptions to the confidentiality rule which are listed below:

  • If we obtain information that a child under the age of 16 (including you) are at risk of being harmed or abused then this information must be reported to Child Protection Services (normally called a Children's Aid Society) or the police if the risk is immediate.
  • If we have reason to believe that you are about to kill yourself - we will release as much information to the people who "need to know" in order to prevent this from happening. Sometimes this involves including other professionals, family members, or the authorities (police).
  • If there is a likely risk that you are going to harm or kill someone else - then your confidentiality may be broken in order to prevent harm to someone else.
  • Medical Doctors are required to report medical and psychiatric conditions that may cause people to be unable to operate and control a vehicle to the Ministry of Transportation.  While the Medical Doctor does not make decisions about who can and cannot drive, the Ministry of Transportation may determine that you are not able to drive until certain medical information is provided to them assuring them of your safety.
  • Health professionals are required to report other healthcare professionals who have sexually abused patients.  Similarly, social workers are required to report social workers who have sexually abused patients.
  • There may be other emergency situations where your confidentiality may be broken in order to ensure your safety.

Providing general information about a diagnosis without releasing patient information is not considered a breach of confidentiality.