Mental Health Menu

General Psychiatry Program

Service updates for appointments at WCH

  • We continue to provide mental health services during COVID-19.
  • If you have an upcoming in person appointment at Women’s College Hospital and you have a fever, cough, or new onset of shortness of breath, have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days, tested positive for COVID-19, or been instructed to self-isolate by Public Health please do not come to the hospital, call the clinic directly for more information.
  • The hospital is open only to patients with appointments, please see our visitor restrictions information.
  • New and follow-up appointments are booked as virtual visits, using the telephone or over video.  Learn how to set-up a video visit.
  • Some current appointments may need to be rescheduled. You will receive a call from us with any changes to your appointment.

Due to high volumes, Addiction Psychiatry is currently only accepting referrals from the Women’s Mental Health Program at Women's College Hospital.  Please check back on the website for ongoing updates as we will soon be opening back up to internal and external referrals.

Women’s College Hospital General Psychiatry Program does not provide crisis services. ​ If you are feeling unsafe or that your situation is an emergency, visit your local Emergency Department or call 911.​ Additional crisis and emergency resources can be found here

The General Psychiatry Program is committed to providing comprehensive individualized care for persons experiencing mental health challenges, ages 18 and up.  Our interdisciplinary team strives to empower individuals to effectively manage their mental health symptoms, through the use of evidence based therapeutic modalities. Our team consists of psychiatrists, mental health therapists, and a social service worker, as well as students in these fields.  

Goals:

  • To serve the mental health needs of patients receiving care from the WCH speciality programs and the WCH family practice.
  • To provide timely and thorough psychiatric assessments with brief follow-up, when appropriate.
  • To provide evidence based, trauma informed, time limited interventions responsive to client’s assessed psychiatric needs.
  • To regularly engage in quality improvement initiatives to evaluate our services and ensure the program is engaging in best practices and meeting the needs of our patient population.
  • To engage in research endeavors in different areas of clinical focus.
  • As an academic hospital, the program at WCH is committed to education.  Learners may be present at time of care.

We strive to employ a trauma-informed lens to all our services, and to provide and inclusive environment and equitable services to people in all their diversity.

NOTE:  
The General Psychiatry Programs accepts internal referrals from WCH programs only
(with the exception of the Day Treatment Program, where external referrals are accepted).

The WCH General Psychiatry Program offers the following services:
Mental Health in Medicine (Outpatient Consult Liaison)
Addiction Psychiatry
Concurrent Disorders Consultation Service
In-service support to the Centre for Headache, WISE program, TIIP, Crossroads, YWCA, Scope-mental health, Substance Use Service and Family Practice Health Centre
Other General Psychiatry: with a primary focus on mood and anxiety disorder

  • Psychiatric Consultation: What to Expect
    • When your referral is received, it will be determined if one of our programs will best fit your needs. In some cases, you may receive a phone call from a clinician to help gather additional information before your first appointment.
    • You will then be contacted by our administrative staff to schedule an appointment with one of our psychiatrists. Wait times for initial consultation vary. However, expected wait time is 1-2 months.
    • Once you have received your appointment, you will be asked to set up your MyHealthRecord portal. You will receive an email from our administrative staff with instructions to complete this setup. Please refer to this link for more information on setting up your MyHealthRecord portal.
    • All appointments are being completed virtually, unless otherwise specified.
    • You will be asked to log into your MyHealthRecord portal 20 minutes prior to your appointment time, in order to complete the e-check in process. Once the check in complete, Zoom will automatically launch, and you will be able to connect with your psychiatrist.
    • If you have any questions or concerns regarding the set up and activation of your MyHealthRecord portal, please contact myhealthrecord@wchospital.ca or call 416-323-6205.
    • Information obtained in the consultation is used to provide a psychiatric diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. A letter will be sent to your referring doctor (and your family doctor if the referring physician is another healthcare provider). Treatment recommendations may include referrals to brief psychotherapy in our program, recommendations for medications or other biological treatments, case management, and referrals to other programs in our department or in the community.

Programs and Services

  • General Psychiatry: Mood and Anxiety​

    The General Psychiatry Program serves patients of Women’s College Hospital, using a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive lens. We have a specific focus on mood and anxiety disorders.   ​

    Those referred for care will be offered a full psychiatric assessment and may receive time-limited treatment within the program. Treatment recommendations may include referrals to brief psychotherapy in our program, recommendations for medications or other biological treatments, case management, and referrals to other programs in our department or in the community.

    Recommendations for treatments will be sent to the patient’s family doctor to support ongoing care.​

    Note: Please check "General Psychiatry" on the referral form (.pdf).


    *Patients with eating disorders or primary psychotic disorders should be referred to more specialized programs outside of WCH:​

  • Mental Health in Medicine

    The Mental Health in Medicine Program is a specialized mental health service that addresses mental health concerns that are secondary to or complicated by a concurrent medical illness. 

    Those referred for care will be offered a full psychiatric assessment and may receive time-limited treatment within the program. Treatment recommendations may include referrals to brief psychotherapy in our program, recommendations for medications or other biological treatments, case management, and referrals to other programs in our department or in the community. 

    Recommendations for treatments will be sent to the patient’s family doctor to support ongoing care.

    Note: Please check "Mental Health in Medicine" on the referral form (.pdf).

  • Substance Use Service (Addiction Psychiatry)

    Our Addiction Psychiatry service provides an integrated biopsychosocial approach to the treatment of substance use disorders (with the exception of opioid use disorders*).  

    This clinic supports people who are seeking help for their substance use and are considering making a change.  Patients will be seen for a comprehensive assessment and when appropriate will be offered medications and/or time-limited psychotherapy for their substance use disorder(s).

    *Note: Individuals who have an opioid use disorder may be directed to the RAAM (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine) clinic at WCH.

    Note: Please check "Substance Use Service" on the referral form (.pdf).

  • Concurrent Disorders Consultation Service

    Concurrent Disorders Consultation Service provides assessments of concurrent substance use and mental health disorders.

    Through consultation, the relationship between the substance use and mental health disorder(s) is assessed. The substance use may be a cause or contributing factor to the mental health disorder and vice versa, and this is examined in the assessment.

    Depending on individual needs, the following may be offered:

    • Short term psychiatric care (with medication management)
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Referral to other services

    Note: This program does not provide opioid maintenance treatment with methadone or suboxone. This can be accessed in the Substance Use Service and RAAM (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine) clinic at WCH.

    Note: Please check "General Psychiatry" on the referral form (.pdf).

  • In-Service Support

    The General Psychiatry Program at WCH is embedded in multiple departments and programs affiliated with the hospital:

  • Groups
    • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR)

      Duration: 9 weeks, 10 sessions
      Frequency:
       3 times a year, Winter, Spring & Fall

      MBSR is a patient-centred psycho-educational group which has over 40 years of research that consistently demonstrates statistically significant reductions in symptoms for various physical and behavioral health conditions including anxiety, depression and chronic pain, along with positive changes in risk factors that may lead to more serious chronic ailments. 

      Those suitable for MBSR: Patients with a history of low mood or anxiety, +/- other existing medical health concerns.

      This group is designed to provide participants with intensive and systematic training in mindfulness meditation and movement practices and integrating into one’s daily life.  A referral from a physician is required.

      Exclusion Criteria:

      • No current history of active use of substances
      • No history of psychosis
      • No current active suicidal ideation
      • No active history of trauma
      • No history of personality disorders
      Note: This group is only open to patients of WCH. Priority access is given to patients of the General Psychiatry Program and if space is available, other WCH mental health patients may be referred. This group is currently offered in a virtual format only.

      MBSR Referral Form (.pdf)
      MBSR Referral Form (.docx)
      MBSR resources for active particpants - password protected.
    • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

      Duration: 8 weekly sessions
      Frequency: Offered 3 to 4 times per year

      Based on the work of Aaron Beck, this evidence-based treatment emphasizes the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The CBT group helps individuals increase their skill and self-awareness regarding thoughts and behaviors and provides opportunities to practice the tools of CBT in a supportive group setting.  

      If there is a trauma history or alcohol/drug dependence/abuse history it is important that the patient has a solid support foundation and care/relapse prevention strategy in place​.

      Patient must have a regular treating physician to follow them while they are in the group.​

      A CBT referral form must be completed by a physician.
      CBT Referral Form (.pdf)
      CBT Referral Form (.doc)

      Note: This group is only open to patients of the Women’s Mental Health Program at WCH and is currently offered in a virtual format only.
    • Seeking Safety Treatment Group (SS)

      Duration: 13 weekly sessions
      Frequency: Offered 2 to 3 times per year. No waitlist is held for this group.​

      Based on the work of Dr. Lisa Najavits, PhD, this treatment is designed for people with substance abuse and trauma experience and emphasizes the relationship between the two. ​
      This group will assist individuals to develop strategies to manage previously overwhelming situations thereby increasing their self-awareness and reducing their symptoms. ​

      Participants will be encouraged and provided with opportunities to develop a practice of using safe coping strategies and tools in a supportive virtual group setting.  ​
      Patients must have a history of relational trauma and symptoms of PTSD and be deemed appropriate for the group milieu. ​

      The Seeking Safety Treatment Referral Form (.doc) must be completed by a physician who can follow the participant while they are in the group.​

      Note: This group is open to internal and external referrals​ and is currently offered in a virtual format only.
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Group (DBT)

      Duration: 12 weekly sessions
      Frequency: Offered 2 - 3 times per year

      DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and consists of 4 components; emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. It is an effective treatment for people who struggle with intense emotions. ​

      Participants learn skills that will assist in understanding and reducing problematic behaviors (i.e. self-harm, substance use, impulsive behavior), enhance emotion regulation and build coping skills. ​

      For eligibility, we require that participants are not in a mental health crisis and have additional formal or informal supports that can be accessed during the program.​ The facilitators will not be available to support patients outside of the group​.

      Referrals must be completed by a physician to register for this program.​

      Note: This group is only open to patients of the Women’s Mental Health Program at WCH and is currently offered in a virtual format only.
      Download the DBT Skills Group Referral Form (.docx)

Psychotherapy and Case Management

  • Virtual Day Treatment Program (DTP)

    Day Treatment Program (DTP) is a virtual program aimed at helping individuals suffering with mood and anxiety disorders to move forward towards more valued living.

    Using the Acceptance Commitment Therapy framework, psychoeducational groups and breathwork, our objective is to support clients in lowering symptoms, increasing self-awareness and commitment to act towards their defined life values with more ease.

    Day Treatment Program is designed in a 3 phased program:

    • Phase 1: Once a week for 4 weeks
    • Phase 2: Twice a week for 6 weeks
    • Phase 3: Once a month for 3 months

    The DTP Referral Form (.pdf) completed by a physician is required to register for this program.
    DTP Referral form (.doc)

  • Individual Time-Limited Psychotherapy

    Individual time-limited psychotherapy services may be offered to patients as part of their treatment plan.  This will be determined collaboratively between the patient and psychiatrist.

    Mental health therapists assess and determine the most effective intervention to assist each patient one-on-one. Treatment may consist of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as supportive and integrative therapies.

    Length of treatment varies depending on the intervention used.

    Note: All individual therapy is currently offered in a virtual format only.

  • Time-Limited Case Management

    The overall goal for Case Management services is to link patients to supports and services, which will aid in the wellness and recovery of patients in the General Psychiatry program. The case manager and patient will collectively set goals and develop a plan that uses inherent strengths of client to link patient to supports which will reduce social isolation and promote a healthy lifestyle.

    Case Management supports are short term, goal-oriented services with a maximum of 6-8 sessions. 

    Referrals for Case Management Services are completed by psychiatrists within the General Psychiatry Program.

    Note: Case Management services are currently offered in a virtual format only.

COVID-19 and mental health

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A member of

Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)