A student—let’s call her Sara—has a big exam tomorrow and is worried she’s not prepared. She puts a lot of pressure on herself. So does her family. And money is a constant worry. She’s feeling overwhelmed. Sound familiar? This is a good time to call MAP.
Anita Patel, a Clinical Supervisor with Shepell, our assistance program provider, explains how this crisis call would be handled.
The first thing we do is make sure she is safe. People in extreme distress can feel hopeless and we need to make sure there is no risk of imminent harm.
Then we establish a calm state of being. Several deep breaths can be very helpful in bringing Sara to the present moment. We ask her to focus on her senses—what does she see, hear, smell, taste and feel. This helps to deescalate anxious thoughts and feelings.
Trust is key. Every contact with MAP is confidential, which is critical to building trust with a caller.
Now it’s time to “unpack”. We explore the sources of Sara’s anxiety. Often just talking things out can help.
It’s important to boost confidence. We discuss her successes and ask her to recall similar situations where there’s been a good outcome.
Then we make a plan. We offer stress management techniques Sara can use when overwhelmed. In many cases, the needs have been met, and the anxiety has been diffused—which is the case with Sara. She is now armed with ways to manage these feelings the next time they arise. And she knows MAP is always available for another session.
Sometimes further counselling is needed. How can we tell? There are many potential signs. Someone who’s usually good natured may describe being withdrawn, moody or short with friends, or losing sleep. We discover this in the unpacking phase, and they are key indicators more support is needed.
Clients can be referred to professional counsellors. The initial call is handled by a trained intake counsellor. Depending on the situation, the client may be connected with a professional counsellor right way or schedule an appointment for a later date.
Connect however you are comfortable. You can connect with MAP face-to-face, on the phone, with a video call, through text message or via email.
There are many crisis situations that can prompt a call. Grief. Injury. Relationship troubles at school, work, or home, or questions about mental health. If you are struggling, MAP wants to help. Over 100 experienced professional counsellors are available 24/7.
Call us any time. For any support. Addressing an issue early is the best time to deal with it. We’re here for you—let us help.
CDSPI’s Members’ Assistance Program (MAP), offers short-term counselling, referrals, information and support systems for your physical and mental well-being. These no-cost services are provided as a member benefit of your dental association and are available to eligible dentists, their staff, and eligible family members of dentists and staff.
Contact MAP at 1.844.578.4040 or visit www.workhealthlife.com.
Anita Patel, MSW, RSW
Clinical Supervisor, Shepell
Ms. Patel is a registered social worker who has been with Shepell for ten years. She has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work and her clinical experience has focused on addictions, trauma and mental health.