Markham Stouffville Hospital is one of the active hospitals in the York region. Outpatient Mental Health services covers the adult and child and adolescent client which provides consultation and treatment by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and recreational therapist for all clients with a mental health problem referred by their family physicians in the community.
We provide different types of group program for patients with depression,anxiety, BRIDGE program including the wellness program. We also run a medication clinic for patients receiving long-acting depot injection and Clozaril for patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
The Pathways to Wellness program started about 3 years ago for patients with schizophrenia and with some weight issues but has expanded to all the patients in mental health. The patients are referred by their psychiatrist. It runs as a 10 week session or 14 week session during the fall.
The program is delivered in 2 parts: one is the education on physical fitness and nutrition and the second part is the goal setting and exercise program which includes any activities such as walking in or outside the hospital, yoga, tai chi, wii bowling, use of walking tape, theraband or weight and stretching. The patients are also encouraged to attend the community CMHA program which has a partnership to use the YMCA fitness facility.
Education is provided by different clinicians such as a physiotherapist to talk about physical activity and prevention of injury; dietitians on healthy eating, menu planning, use of Canada's food guide; nurse clinician on heart health and diabetes prevention and a pharmacist who talks about the side effects of medication as well as the recreational therapist on leisure and wellness. The group is facilitated by a nurse and a recreational therapist. We provide a wellness binder with the resources that we provide during the group sessions. At the end of the 10 week session, we also get the patients to bring in healthy foods to celebrate their accomplishments.
Peer leadership opportunities are offered to an alumnus from the program, who at the end of each 10 group session, talks about her success using the program particularly with weight management.
We have success in that patients do lose some weight and get a lot of benefits such as able to change their unhealthy eating habits while attending the program. However, they need continuous follow-up for maintenance; that's why we try to connect them with the CMHA Living room program where they get access to the YMCA. But not everyone attends the Living room program. In our program, drop-out is not uncommon but we try to accomodate them in the next sessions.
We are partly funded by an educational grant from drug companies.
For more information, contact:
Eva Estrella, RN
Clinical Nurse Outpatient Mental Health Medication and Wellness Clinic
Markham Stouffville Hospital Outpatient Mental Health
381 Church St. P.O. Box 1800
Markham, Ontario L3P 7P3
E-mail: eestrella [at] msh [dot] on [dot] ca