The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.
We provide consultation and assessment services to both in-patients and out-patients with severe mental illness. The purpose is to identify and manage risk markers for pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome such as obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. The clinic is staffed by a psychiatrist, nurse, dietitian and recreation therapist. Referrals are received from health care professionals, however clients must have access to a doctor to allow for on-going monitoring and supervision.
The recreation therapist provides healthy lifestyle counselling and works together with clients to develop physical activity plans according to their needs and goals. Services also include participation in exercise groups, leisure education, walking programs and more.
We work closely with the Physical Health and Education department at the University of Toronto to develop programs and research concerning promoting physical activity amongst individuals with severe mental illness.
Although we do not have any peer leadership opportunities at this time in our clinic; we are part of the Schizophrenia Program at CAMH who employ peer support workers and work together with them and clients when referred.
We have just completed a successful women’s group entitled Healthy Lifestyles Promotion Program for Women. After 6 weeks of participating in a diet and physical activity-focused program, clients indicated they felt more confident in their own healthy lifestyle management.
Challenges continue to be the stigma clients face within the community when trying to access local gyms to be active. Funding is also limited so staff must be resourceful when creating innovative exercise programs.
For more information, please contact:
Natasha Golding, Recreation Therapist
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Phone Number: 416-535-8501 x2650
E-Mail: natasha_golding [at] camh [dot] net