Holding on to Hope

Through your support of mental health care, you are helping people on their recovery journey.
Dr. Serena Wong
Dr. Serena Wong, a clinical psychologist, champions the call for expanded mental health funding, advocating for better care.

Dr. Serena Wong sees the need for increased funding to mental health care every day. As a clinical psychologist, she cares for adults of all ages – providing one-to-one therapy, as well as group therapy for in- and out-patients.

And she’s worried about the growing need for mental health care, especially among adults older than 65 years. 

“The older adult patient population is growing exponentially,” she says, “and our system will become stretched beyond capacity; we need to find solutions to support people today and in the future.”

She remains optimistic, however, and has learned to hold on to hope – especially when she sees how the community continues to embrace mental health as a cause.

Recently, donors rallied around urgent needs in mental health care at St. Joseph’s by donating more than $35,000. Much-needed items like clothing, personal hygiene products and weighted blankets, therapeutic chairs, and a bladder scanner will immediately enhance the lives of people receiving mental health care at St. Joseph’s thanks to the kindness of the community.

"Hope is here. Thank you to everyone who donates to mental health care – you are making a difference."

Helping with the pain

Dr. Wong was first inspired as a student to do clinical work in mental health. During her second year of university, she experienced several students tragically die by suicide.

“I wanted to help alleviate the pain of people feeling suicidal and those who are left grieving after such a loss,” she says.

That set her on a path to complete her doctorate in clinical psychology. She came to St. Joseph’s for her residency and has been here ever since.

As part of her clinical care, Dr. Wong offers a unique group therapy program called the Awareness, Courage and Love group. More affectionately known as the LOVE group by participants, it provides psychotherapy to alleviate loneliness and enhance social connection. Patients learn how to support themselves and each other.

“The sessions are very poignant,” says Dr. Wong. “The group doesn’t focus on giving advice, rather we practise listening and honouring experiences to create a sense of safety and connection.” 

Through her practice, Dr. Wong says she hears about intense trauma and profound pain that people have experienced – but she’s also struck by the resilience of the human spirit and how patients choose to heal. It’s why she is so grateful to people who donate to mental health care at St. Joseph’s.

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