REGINA — Delegates to the annual provincial convention of the Catholic Womens’ League (CWL) held here June 1-2 learned about health care provided by the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS) and an online University of Regina program that treats depression and anxiety.
Sandy Normand, mission education co-ordinator for CHAS, gave a historical overview of how health care was developed, and Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos of the Faculty of Psychology talked about her online program. Both speakers spoke to delegates on the first day of the convention prior to the official opening.
Normand described a five-day program CHAS uses to connect with all staff that deals with mission. The program is delivered one day every three weeks in each facility.
“We give mission formation or formation about mission,” said Normand in an interview with the PM. “It’s very experiential. That’s the key. It’s an experiential based opportunity. It’s not from the head, it’s not in terms of content and what will I achieve at the end of this.”
Normand opened her presentation with a brief history lesson, beginning with the first Grey Nuns establishing health care in Ile a la Crosse in 1860. The Grey Nuns eventually located in 50 Saskatchewan communities, establishing hospitals and other health care facilities. They were followed in 1911 by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth, and many others then followed. .
“We are standing on the shoulders of the sisters who came before us, who stood on the shoulders of God,” said Normand.
After the history lesson, Armand described the current challenges, even though the mission remains the same. They have many non-Catholic CEOs and staff. “How do we get people to understand their mission and calling so they can connect with what God is asking them to do?” She then detailed the five-day program which she brings to every facility.
The treatment of depression and anxiety is a continuing problem in Canada according to Hadjistavropolous. “Treatment is available to about a third of the population and only about a third of those receive the right treatment,” she said. With the aid of grant money and support from several partners she established an online therapy treatment program that accepted 456 people of the more than 700 who applied.
She explained that the program is only for depression and anxiety and not for other conditions like PTSD or addictions.
“Treatment has been very successful,” she said. “We have had very positive feedback and are looking to expand the program to include chronic pain,” another area of her research.