Feature: Contributing to a mental health-informed community

Whether it is her drive to support her local community, or her deep appreciation for the field of Psychiatry, Dr. Jennifer Grbevski, PGY4, adopts the same guiding philosophy:

“It’s about meeting people where they’re at. Truly listen, and you’ll understand where this person is coming from. I believe that’s how you provide the best care,” she shared.

Dr. Jennifer GrbevskiA Windsorite from birth, Grbevski has always been interested in psychiatry, and improving mental health care in her hometown.

“Contributing to a more mental health-informed community, decreasing stigma and providing resources on dealing with mental health issues for themselves or loved ones will benefit our community in the long run,” she said.

After six years away, completing medical studies at Wroclaw Medical University in Poland, her return to Windsor for residency training was the gateway to community outreach and advocacy.

Through Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Grbevski was given the opportunity to present community mental health seminars. These opportunities ranged from speaking with parents about how to talk to their children about mental health, to discussing psychosis with an audience of Ontario Provincial Police officers.

“Knowing how and when to get help can be intimidating, especially when it may be difficult to navigate the system. These presentations can improve psychiatric care locally, because they help people understand the system a little bit better.”

This year, as Psychiatry Chief Resident, she wants to facilitate more occasions for her peers to get involved in this work. For her fellow trainees, it’s a chance to get to know their patient populations outside of a strictly clinical setting, foster communication and teaching skills and feel a part of the community they are training in.

Her interest in empowering community members to advocate for their health led Grbevski to joining the Patient Family Advisory Council at Hôtel Dieu Healthcare. Made up of hospital staff, patients and their families, the council advocates for patient representation on different boards and committees throughout the hospital, as well as accessible, patient-friendly communication and protocols.

As part of her role as Chief Resident, another area of focus is helping to support the implementation of a new mental health pathway in the emergency department for Psychiatry residents, offering more opportunities to assist in providing assessments for patients when they are first admitted to hospital.

“The residents have provided positive feedback regarding the changes to the call structure. Before, residents worked directly in the emergency department and consultations were accepted by psychiatric assessment nurses. Now, residents are located in a new unit, the Mental Health Assessment Unit, and are able to directly accept consultations from emergency doctors".