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Patient-centred care in mental health and substance use

Patient-centred care in mental health and substance use

“There are only so many ways to fix a broken leg,” says Debi Morris. “But if you have five patients with a mood disorder, there will be so many ways you will approach treatment.”

For Debi, the field of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) is fascinating, in part, because care and treatment needs to be individualized to be effective. What may be recovery for one person will be different for another person.

“It’s the epitome of patient-centred care because if we’re not [individualizing treatment], we’re not going to get the outcomes that we need for people.”

Debi serves IH West as the MHSU Administrator. Aboriginal Health Lead Vanessa Mitchell interviewed Debi recently for the Interior Voices podcast series. The pair discussed the importance of patient-centred care and reminisced about the time they spent together last summer on the Nlaka’pamux communities tour.

Vanessa Mitchell points out this approach very much aligns with trauma-informed practice and culturally safe practice. The Nlaka’pamux communities tour afforded managers like Debi the time and experience to see firsthand the unique health challenges experienced in communities.

“We have a lot of conversations in our day-to-day work about access,” Debi says. “But if someone lives on a gravel road fifty kilometres or more from the nearest services, what does that look like compared to someone who lives in downtown Kamloops?”

Spending time in communities is also an important step towards building relationships and “relationship is a pathway to removing barriers in and of itself,” says Debi.

To hear the full conversation and learn more, tune in to Interior Voices.

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Interior Voices is a podcast that explores the intersection of health and culture in the workplace, everyday lives, and patient care. While it was created to help expand IH staff and physician engagement around cultural safety, many episodes will also interest community members. The series includes interviews with IH staff, physicians, and others living and working in the Interior region.