My name is Brandi Dahlman and I am the new Primary Health Care Counsellor for the south central region of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. A little bit about me: I am from Assiniboia and have lived here my whole life aside from getting my post-secondary education. I am from a farming family and my husband and I continue to farm with my family as well as own our own farming corporation. I have a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and I am a Registered Social Worker. My husband and I have two boys who keep us on our toes! I am passionate about people and mental health and am excited for this new adventure in my home town.
You may be wondering what a Primary Health Care Counsellor is. Well, first an explanation of what Primary Health Care is. Primary Health Care is often the first point of contact when someone is needing health services whether that is mental or physical. When we think of receiving health services, we often think of doctors, however; there are many levels to Primary Health Care. In order to give someone the most comprehensive, patient centered care, we need to include many key members on the team. This includes doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, dieticians, pharmacists, EMT’s, counsellors and also community workers and volunteers, etc. When all these key members work together, the best level of care can be provided so that all of the patient’s health needs are met. We want our patients to be involved in all decision making and feel empowered and included in their care.
This is where I come in. My role as the Health Care Counsellor is to work alongside all of these key members and help provide brief, counselling and psychoeducation for those needing some extra mental health and wellness supports in their life. I work with anxiety, depression, stress management, health and wellness, smoking cessation, chronic disease/pain management, mild substance use, parenting issues, postpartum depression, grief, communication/goal setting, self-esteem etc. If we can catch those people coming into the healthcare settings who may be experiencing some difficulties in their mental health and wellness and provide education, supports and tools/techniques that they can take with them in their daily lives, then we can further prevent people from needing more intense care and services down the road. I also hope to be a face in the community and add some extra supports and resources where I can. No one knows the community and what might be missing better than those living and functioning within it daily. In order for me to help meet unmet needs, I need the communities’ feedback and support as well!
This past year has been a roller coaster for many. We have had to be isolated and separate from each other but it is still so important to be able to connect and lean on each other even from afar. Everyone will be experiencing these times in very different ways depending on your situation but it is still so important to remain a close community and ask for help when we need it! Mental health and wellness is so important in these times and I want to be able to continue to spread awareness and provide supports to those in healthcare settings but also those within community. When we include counsellors on our teams and in our communities then we are able to address not only people’s physical needs but also mental needs.
My goal is “Let’s Connect.” How can we stay connected while having to be apart? I want to work along with this community and area to keep mental health awareness going, continue to help get people comfortable around the topic and keep the conversations going.
At this time, I will be available through referrals from the doctors and nurse practitioners. I will be stationed at the Red Coat Primary Health Care Clinic as well as travelling to Coronach and Gravelbourg once COVID settles some. Keep your eyes open for some extra supports and resources for the community as well. I look forward to connecting!
A few resources to check out:
Headspace- an app for meditation, mindfulness, sleep, movement, focus
Happify - Games to reduce stress, overcome negative thoughts, and build emotional wellness.
www.cmha.ca Canadian Mental Health Association website. Resources, Peer Support Program
www.cci.health.wa.gov.au self-help resources
811- Call the HealthLine for professional health or mental health and addictions advice, education and support