About the Team
The Compass team are a group of highly trained individuals here to provide support and education on mental health and substance use care.
Chantal obtained her Masters of Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Currently, Chantal works at BC Children’s Hospital as a part of the Compass Team supporting providers across the province with Child and Youth Mental Health directly on the phone line and with the Education Strategy Team. Outside of work, Chantal focuses on her two loving, energetic boys, her private practice and the outdoors.
Darla graduated from the University of Victoria with a Masters’ Degree in Counselling Psychology. She has over 23 years of experience across health care and education settings, providing counselling and psychotherapy to children, youth and families. At the core of her work, is a passion for supporting individuals in accessing and developing their internal resources and resiliency, while expanding their learning and building capacity throughout the lifespan. With the varied experience of a generalist, a clinical focus on depression, anxiety, and trauma, alongside an appreciation for the benefits of supportive consultation for practitioners, she joined the Compass Team. Outside of work, Darla enjoys global and local travel adventures, and staying active in mind and body.
Dr. Erin Smith
Dr. Erin Smith is a psychiatrist with the Compass program at BCCH and also works at BCWH at Reproductive Mental Health and the Oak Tree Clinic. She completed her general adult psychiatry residency at UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and also completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at the same institution. Prior to working for Compass, Dr. Smith worked at the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders clinic at BCCH. She is passionate about working with people during their pregnancies and in the postpartum period as well as transitional age youth and adults with concurrent disorders and their families. Dr. Smith is also a motivational interviewing (MI) trainer and a member of the internationally regarded organization Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). She is a published author in the field of MI as well as the field of addictions and is passionate about teaching motivational interviewing and also lectures on a variety of different topics for medical trainees through her role as a clinical instructor at UBC. Dr. Smith is proud to be part of the collaborative and multidisciplinary team at Compass.
Helen is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who has been working with children with mental health concerns and their caregivers for 17 years. Prior to working in Compass, Helen was the Nurse Clinician in ADHD Provincial Program for many years. Helen recently completed a Masters of Education at Simon Fraser University and has an interest in teaching Mindfulness and contemplative practices to healthcare professionals.Originally from Yorkshire, England, Helen makes a great Yorkshire Pudding. She always has a creative project on the go and loves spending time with her husband and their French Bulldog, Dave.
Jasleen Jhajj, BA, MA, is currently a Care (Resource) Coordinator at BC Children’s Hospital. Jasleen has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree. Jasleen has worked in variety of settings which have consisted of outreach, advocacy, non-profit agencies, correctional health centers, and health authorities. Jasleen has provided mental health services to youth with addictions who are homeless and are at risk of homelessness or facing multiple barriers which makes it difficult for them to access office based services. As well as administrating standardized trauma inform screening and assessment protocols to identify any mental health and/or substance use concerns in correctional health centres, while utilizing a trauma informed framework and family centered care.
Dr. Jennifer Russel
Dr. Jennifer Russel is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with a focus on treating youth with severe mental illness, including psychotic disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, difficulties with affect dysregulation, and neurodevelopmental disorders. She is the Clinical Director of the Compass Program at BCCH and a psychiatrist with the Physician Health Program with Doctors of BC. Her areas of focus are Trauma Informed Practice, Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Psychological PPE.
Jennifer is a registered psychiatric nurse with over 23 years of clinical experience gathered from a variety of settings. Her area of expertise is in youth concurrent disorders. She has been working as a Nurse Clinician at BC Children's hospital since 2006. Jennifer has extensive training in therapeutic modalities and has provided both individual and group treatment. She also has experience in teaching. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys time with her dog Jelly and exercising in nature. She is also a mother of two lively children and a wife to a husband that provides her with daily doses of laughter.
Dr. Katharine Thomson
Dr. Katharine Thomson is a clinical and research psychologist with the Compass Program at BCCH. Prior to joining our team, Dr. Thomson was an attending psychologist in consultation and liaison at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has special interests in trauma-informed care, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, eating disorders, somatization, LGBTQ+ healthcare, and health equity. In addition to her role in the Compass Program, Dr. Thomson has a private practice where she works with children, adolescents, and young adults. Outside of work, she can be found exploring beaches with her spouse, their two young children, and their dog, or taking on a new home improvement project.
Kelsey graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters Degree in Social Work and recently completed an Addictions Fellowship with the BC Centre on Substance Use. Her area of expertise is youth and young adults struggling with mental health and substance use challenges. Working as a clinical social worker in healthcare for the last decade Kelsey supported youth, adults, couples and families to cope with life’s biggest challenges including mental health and substance use concerns; separation and divorce, and family conflict. Outside of Kelsey’s part-time position with Compass, Kelsey has a private counselling practice. When she isn’t working, Kelsey is busy doing art with her son and exploring the ski hills with her spouse.
Kevin is the Clinical Nurse Coordinator for the Compass Program. Within the team, he provides nursing leadership, education, as well as supporting the day to day clinical functions at Compass. He is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse specializing in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and has recently completed an Addictions Nursing Fellowship with the BC Centre on Substance Use. Outside of work, he’s busy at home experimenting in the kitchen with various bakes and entertaining his 2 dogs.
Meena works in the role of Administrative Coordinator in the Outpatient Child and Youth, and Reproductive Mental Health Programs. She brings a wealth of experience working in Health Care for 20+ years working with senior management and executives. She also supports Team and initiatives within OPD around Provincial Outreach, Access and Consultation services.
Meena has worked as an integral part of Executive Team of BCW & BCCH. She is a self-starter, ready to take the lead on projects and see them through to completion. Always looking for a new challenge, Meena proudly serves in the Reserves with Canadian Armed Forces Navy as Human Resources Administrator. She loves outdoors, dogs, and most of all spending time with family and friends. She is passionate about Yoga and meditation.
Meredith de Freitas
Meredith is a Program Manager with the Health Literacy Team at BC Children's Hospital. She works alongside the Compass Program to support the implementation and growth of the program's Education Strategy. Meredith has a BA in Medical Anthropology from McGill University and a Master's in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. She has worked over ten years in the field of public health and is passionate about health promotion, health equity, and mental health literacy.
Sonja has a Bachelor’s in Child and Youth Care and a Master’s Degree in Human Security. Currently Director of the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at BC Children’s Hospital, Sonja previously worked within a variety of roles supporting vulnerable populations with challenges related to mental health and substance use, including supporting children, youth and families, individuals living in conflict zones, individuals struggling with homelessness in the Downtown Eastside, and adults with mental health issues involved with the criminal justice system. She has worked with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Children and Family Development around Provincial initiatives to improve responses and supports for families affected by mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on whole family supports, recognizing the intergenerational nature of these concerns. Outside of work, Sonja can be found horseback riding and jumping or curled up with a good book.
Dr. Susan Baer
Susan Baer is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who has worked at BC Children’s Hospital since 2004. She completed her medical training and psychiatry residency at UBC. She has particular interests in anxiety and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her favorite part about working on Compass is collaborating with community providers across the province as well as working with the multidisciplinary Compass team. Outside of work, she loves all outdoor activities, particularly backcountry adventures!