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Starting the dialogue for mental health

Dorset Pier Mental Health is providing the city support to make lives better.
Rachel Egan
As the world fights a pandemic, there is another secretly grooming amidst us: a mental health crisis. With year-long social isolations, lockdowns, and illness, as many as one in five Canadians experience mental health problems and illness. Throughout the course of the pandemic, this situation has only escalated.

According to the World Health Organization, one in five children and adolescents develop a mental disorder: a statistic that should be concerning. However, less than half of 139 countries have mental health policies and plans aligned with human rights conventions. A slightly alarming fact.

Realizing the seriousness of mental health disorders and the importance of self care when it comes to mental health, a local resident from Thunder Bay founded the Dorset Pier Mental Health, a private practice to cater to the mental health needs of the Thunder Bay community.

Started last March, by Danielle Rider, they provide short and long-term therapy services to any demographic, no matter the age, gender, sexual orientation. Their wide range of services include providing care to families, couples, individuals, children, and virtual services for those who cannot make it in-person. They have a therapy dog and bunny for those animal lovers.

Animals can make therapy easier, as they have the tendency to bring down the anxiety. And the dog also makes my job more interesting and relaxing,” says Rachel Egan about the decision to have therapy animals in the practice.

Our vision is to take time with the clients. There is a tendency for therapists to hurry and rush through because they have a client list to finish. Sometimes that can lead to therapy being rushed, which is not beneficial to either party. Everyone takes different time to heal, especially those who’ve had traumatic experiences. And it is important to give everyone the time they deserve to heal,” she says.

Being seen, heard, and understood can make a big difference in people’s lives. To have that one support person could make someone’s life better, and that’s the importance of having a dialogue about mental health.

According to Egan, mental health is as important as physical health and accessing mental health should be less intimidating, although it can feel that way. Therapy should be a judgment-free environment, and giving time is the missing piece of the puzzle. “Our clients have the power of controlling therapy here, and that’s what makes us give clients the treatment they need and deserve,” she says about the importance of having a tailored environment for their healing process.

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