Welcome to Compass Corner!
Let's get to know another one of the amazing Compass Team members: Dimicia Speck / Hamanikwiladzi
What is your role with the Compass team?
My role on the Compass team is to enhance cultural safety for Indigenous providers and families accessing services, and seek to provide (and promote) an Indigenous lens in the clinical environment. To me that looks like incorporating teachings into assessments and consults, and referring to Indigenous ways of knowing.
What drew you to working in the field of child and youth mental health?
Many things over time have drawn me to this work. Having personal and professional experience navigating the mental health system and understanding where some of the gaps in service exist, especially when it comes to supporting Indigenous families, would be the number one reason.
What have you found the most rewarding or surprising about supporting providers?
One thing I have found most rewarding about supporting providers is bringing resources to the table that a provider is not aware of. There are so many Indigenous organizations that are doing great work in our communities to promote healing that many people in general are not aware of.
Any clinical pearls you would like to share?
One clinical pearl that I’d like to share would be to validate Indigenous experiences of racism by naming it in your interactions with families whenever it is appropriate. To me that looks like saying “I know that the health care system in this country has been unsafe and even racist at times to Indigenous people, so thank you for giving this a chance today, I want you to know that this is a safe place”. The experiences of racism in health care can often be the elephant in the room sometimes without you even knowing the elephant is there. Racism experienced in healthcare can directly impact a patient, often it can be an intergenerational trauma, and sometimes both. Naming it doesn’t mean the elephant goes away, but it helps families feel more at ease to know that you are aware of this trauma and that you want to work in ways that make them feel safe, welcome, and supported. Gilakas’la, Hamanikwiladzi (Dimicia Speck)