This specialized program in the Department of Psychiatry at Women's College Hospital provides assessment and short-term treatment for women experiencing new or recurrent mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, mania and psychosis during the reproductive life stages (such as menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postpartum and the menopausal transition).
The program offers a combination of education, brief psychotherapy and medication, along with a multidisciplinary team approach, to assess and treat women, their partners and families. Examples of conditions for we provide assessment and care are:
As well, the program has two child psychiatrists on staff who provide care to children of mothers with mental health issues, and one addiction psychiatrist on staff who provides consultation to our program for women who have addictions in addition to their mental health difficulties.
The program is also committed to educating healthcare providers and for conducting research to further understand mental health as it relates to women at each reproductive life stage.
The program’s interdisciplinary team of psychiatrists, mental health social workers and nurses offer the following services:
Prior to your visit, your physician or midwife will request a consultation from us by faxing us a referral form. We will call you to schedule a telephone pre-assessment with the RLS nurse that will happen prior to your visit with the doctor. If you wish to schedule your pre-assessment before we call you or you have not heard from us within 2-3 days of your referral please call our program at 416-323-6230 to schedule your telephone intake.
The RLS nurse will ask you some questions about the reason for your referral, and any other information that will help us inform your assessment visit with the RLS psychiatrist. Depending on the reason for your referral, you may be asked to complete a short questionnaire over the phone so that we can better understand what symptoms you are having, and how severe these are. After your intake telephone call, your visit with the RLS psychiatrist will be booked.
When you arrive on the 7th floor, please proceed to check in at the information desk where you will be asked to fill out some important forms, including your current medications, and whether you would be willing to participate in research studies in our program if you are eligible. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your scheduled appointment to complete these forms.
Your first visit to our program will be with one of the RLS program psychiatrists who will help determine a treatment plan to meet your needs. Women who are pregnant or postpartum may be referred for additional services in the RLS program, including psychological therapy with a mental health therapist.
You are welcome to bring any children under age 1 in for your appointment. On-site child care is available and should be booked in advance(see Stella's Playroom).
The time between referral and first appointment is determined by your intake telephone pre-assessment. At the present time, we are offering appointments for most referred patients within 2 weeks of the intake appointment.
A referral by a doctor or midwife is required. Referred women can call the intake line to arrange a telephone pre-assessment with a nurse pending referral by their health-care practitioner.Physicians and clinicians
Download and complete the patient referral form from the Forms section below. Once completed, please fax to 416-323-6356.
A rapid consultation service is available for pregnant or preconception patients who require timely recommendations regarding treatment of depression in pregnancy. Every effort is made to provide a consultation appointment within 3–5 business days.
At any given time our team also includes social work and medical students, post-graduate medical trainees in psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and family medicine, as well as clinical fellows from Canada and around the world.
The RLS program at Women’s College Hospital is actively involved in a variety of research initiatives at our institution and through partnerships with other hospitals. We aim to conduct research that improves the health of women with mental health issues and their families across the reproductive life cycle, including across the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postpartum and in the menopausal transition.
We have several clinical research studies underway that are actively recruiting participants:
In addition to the clinical research studies described above, our staff are engaged in high-quality research activities of relevance to women during their reproductive life cycle. Some examples:
There are many resources available for both patients and their healthcare providers. The following are leading websites that will provide the answers to many of the questions you may have about mental health during reproductive life stages:
Women's Health Matters
Womenshealthmatters.ca provides trusted news, features and research findings on women’s health, as well as Health Centres offering in-depth information on women’s health topics.
The Trauma & Mental Health Report
The Trauma & Mental Health Report is a weekly online mental-health magazine published out of York University in Toronto. The Trauma & Mental Health Report sat down with Psychiatrist, Dr. Diane Meschino, to talk about Postpartum depression (PPD).
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Reproductive Life Stages Program
Women's College Hospital
76 Grenville Street
Toronto, ON M5S 1B2
Intake line: 416-323-7715
Hours of Service
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The hospital is fully accessible. All clinics have wheelchair accessible washrooms.
A physician or midwife's referral is required. Access forms »
Available upon request. See the Your Care tab or referral form for more information.
Amenities for Parents
The following washrooms on the 7th floor are equipped with change tables:
Are you a new mom adjusting to having a baby? Consider joining our online support group.
Learn more about our online support group for new moms.