Welcome to Compass Corner!
Let's get to know one of the Compass team's valuable members: Sarah Rush, MSW.
1. What’s your role with the Compass team?
I am honoured to be a part of the Compass team as Social Work Clinician. I spend my day working as a member of an interdisciplinary team to triage consultation phone calls from providers and community mental health worker across the province who are working with youth with mental health and substance use concerns. In this role, I act as a connector, providing information on systems navigation, community resources and share evidence-based therapeutic interventions and strategies. I also join alongside consultations with Compass Psychiatrists where I share my insights and recommendations using a social work lens. A large part of our roles as Clinicians is to provide support, validation, and encouragement to our callers, reminding them that in the face of complex and often emotional work, they are doing an excellent job.
2. What drew you to working in this field?
My career began in early childcare education, where I grew to appreciate the importance of those early years in shaping young people. I have always loved the relationships I establish with young people and their families. As a clinician, we have this immense privilege of walking alongside clients who are, in many cases, having the worst time of their life. This is a sacred space we have access to. Here we support young people and their families, helping them navigate a crisis and providing tools in this time of hardship. I have been able to witness young people recover and this gives me the opportunity to instill hope and tell clients that they too can recover.
3. What have you found the most rewarding or surprising about supporting providers?
Caring for young people requires a collective and collaborative approach. We always hear that it takes a community to raise children. We find this community in our homes, our schools and in our health care system. Compass’ strength is the collective approach to healing and care for young people in our province. Our team is made up of multidisciplinary professionals who bring each a unique skill set and expertise, contributing to a collective approach to care. In many instances, we speak to callers who are providing care in isolation. The greatest joy is observing the magic that happens when health communities join together and are able to share each other’s collective wisdom and insights. Compass provides the structure for this to occur. It is also immensely rewarding to see how dedicated our callers are to their patients. What stands out is the excellent care our community providers and mental health clinicians are providing to young people in our province. We will often have callers calling for multiple follow up appointments, just further demonstrating their passion and dedication to providing excellent and evidence-based care.
4. Any clinical pearls you’d like to share?
My background working in children’s rights and advocacy has influenced my approach in my work with young people. One pearl that I can pass along is to not get lost in the over-professionalization of care, and to believe that it is not only the voice of the professionals that matters, but it is the child’s voice which must also be listened to and heard. The child is at the centre of this healing circle. This means recognizing the importance of the young person’s views, insights, and voice. Asking the patient questions such as: what do you want, what do you see as the greatest issue of concern, what are your priorities when it comes to care, who would you like to bring into the circle (parents, aunties, teachers, friends, counsellor, doctors etc.). Accessing the patient’s views and voice is most often the key to the solution.