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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

The Patient as Teacher

It’s a simple innovation that changes everything:  transforming patients and families into teachers who educate CAMH staff, students and the community in mental health care. 

Intergenerational Building

At the hospital’s Annual General Meeting on June 19, a special panel will showcase CAMH’s Patient as Teacher Initiative, in which mental health patients become advisors to clinicians. In this new role, former patients help healthcare professionals develop a deeper understanding of how to meet their patients’ needs.

Moderated by CAMH's VP of Education Dr. Ivan Silver, the panel discussion will feature former clients as well as staff, specifically: David Wiljer from CAMH Education, Dr. Sean Kidd from CAMH Schizophrenia Services, Ontario Shores Peer Support Specialist and former CAMH client Kevin Hareguy, and Jennifer Chambers of the Empowerment Council.

One of the Patient as Teacher projects being featured is “From Surviving to Advising”, a mentoring program where people with lived experience of mental illness are paired with psychiatry residents in training to act as their advisors, meeting withthe young doctors on a monthly basis for six months.

“The Speaker Series” is another “Patient as Teacher” project, in which a group of 12 former patients, including Kevin Hareguy,  return to the hospital wards to talk to small groups of nurses, social workers, therapists and doctors about their experiences of being an inpatient.  They offer a unique perspective to staff about what makes a difference in care. They also reminds staff, who spend their days caring for patients who are at their most unwell, that people can and do recover.

The Patient as Teacher panel discussion will take place as part of the CAMH Annual General Meeting from 4-6 pm on Thursday June 19, in the Bell Gateway Building at 100 Stokes Street.

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