Experience Change with The Haven

Mental Health Service Provider - Here to Guide You

Are you struggling with issues related to trauma, grief, addiction, anxiety, PTSD or major life changes? There comes a time when we need some help from a certified professional to help cope with many of life’s challenges.
Life can be overwhelming and sometimes even exhausting, but we are here to guide you through any obstacles you may face. Our goal is to help you understand yourself more deeply and to better cope with change.

 

Meet Our Team

Get to Know Us

Our team is comprised of active and retired emergency services members, we are friends and family helping those who serve on the frontline.

Michelle Vincent M.A.C.P., C.C.P.A., I.S.S.T.

Founder / Lead Director

Michelle is an 18 year (retired) Police Veteran having worked in a variety of units, from investigative, community service to front line. She is a board member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM) as a call-out coordinator and peer.
She obtained her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology January, 2016, is registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as well as the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She has worked with First Responders as clients with PTSD and other mental health challenges.
Michelle is trained in equine assisted learning and has a service dog in training for therapy work. She is fully trained in Edmonton Police’s outstanding Workplace Reintegration After Critical Incident and Long-Term Leave program and writes for Blue Line Magazine in their mental health column “Holding the Line” and InTime Blog.
She is a mental health facilitator/volunteer for Badge of Life Canada’s outstanding SOLE Sistas and Hero’s Call programs. She is fully bilingual in French and English and able to provide mental health services in both languages. She is an experienced public speaker/past teacher.
She is a PhD Candidate in Forensic Psychology with a specialization in Crisis Response and involved as a Knowledge User in various research grants/projects.

Melissa Petriglia H.B.A., H.B.S.W., M.S.W., RSW.

Director / Mental Health Specialist

Melissa is a Registered Social Worker through the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. After receiving an Honours Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Lakehead University, Melissa completed a Masters in Social Work at the University of Toronto where she specialized in Mental Health.
Melissa has clinical experience in both hospital and community settings. She began her early social work career working alongside York Regional Police in their Mental Health Support team. In this role, Melissa worked with a police officer, attending mental health related calls in the community. From there, she began working in the Emergency Departments in the GTA as a crisis intervention worker, completing psychosocial assessments, addiction interventions and crisis intervention services for individuals who would present to the ER. In addition, Melissa has her own private psychotherapy practice where she provides treatment for a variety of issues such as anxiety and panic attacks, depression and mood issues, stress and burnout, life transitions, relationship and family related issues, self-esteem/self-image issues, disordered eating, and work/occupational stress/trauma related issues.

Melissa specializes in working with first responders, including emergency room staff, physicians, police officers, paramedics and fire fighters. Lastly, Melissa is an active member of the York Region CISM team and assumed the role of as Clinical Director this past summer (2016).

Jean-Philippe Perron O.C.D., D.E.C.

Director / Social Media Coordinator

JP is a 19 year Police Veteran who started his career in the North-East Region as front-line member on patrol. During his time up North, he had an opportunity to work in partnership with Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers.
He transferred to East Region in 2006 and after a few more years on patrol, moved on to the Community Drug Action Team. Over the years, he has worked in various areas from Traffic duties to Specialized Units including Drug Enforcement and Organized Crime Investigations.
He currently leads a Street Crime Unit, but he also takes on a peer support role. He always had a strong interest in mental health and wellness. As a result of his involvement in many incidents, he was selected to be a panel member for the OPP mental health review committee.
In Februrary 2020, he participated at the NHL Alumni "putting the stigma in the penalty box" event held in Ottawa (ON) as a mental health awareness speaker. 
He is a martial artist and holds the rank of black belt in japanese Jiu-Jitsu. 
He is fully bilingual, French being his first language. He is the voice behind our social media piece.

James Buchanan MBA

Director / Business Leader

James spent 30 years as a business strategy consultant with leading Canadian and global consulting firms. He has extensive experience in business planning for large and small enterprises and has led reviews of investment opportunities in many start-ups and small enterprises.
His clients were boards of directors and senior executives. He has served on the board of directors of SECOR Consulting, a private food processing company, the Tarragon Theatre, and the Lake Joseph North Association.
He brings his extensive experience in finance, business planning, and governance to The Haven.

 
Image by Ian Schneider

MORE ABOUT US

Throughout our various experiences (both professional & personal), we've realized that there are many gaps in services currently being offered when it comes to mental health, especially for our heroes putting their lives on the line. We have decided to fill some of these gaps with our very unique approach.

 

MISSION

Providing occupational-specific inpatient/outpatient mental health care exclusively for First
Responders and Uniform Personnel. Caring for those who serve and protect us. Enriching lives of our First Responders and Uniform Personnel so they are constructive family members and sound contributors to their communities and organizations.

VISION

Our vision is to offer leading edge, evidence-based mental health services with accelerated access for First Responders and Uniform Personnel on an inpatient/outpatient basis.

Our initial focus will be to provide services in two or three facilities in Ontario. Over time we expect to have facilities to support service delivery across Canada.

Our services will be leading-edge and constantly evolving through the adoption of known best practices and the support of new research programs to advance innovation in the field.
The Haven will represent a unique partnership between governments, academia, the private sector and First Responders and Uniform Personnel.

GOALS

Providing a safe environment with mindfulness applications, physical health opportunities along with evidence-based mental health programs supporting addiction comorbidity with professional psychological and medical supervision is our overall goal.
Our specific treatment goals are:

  1. Provide timely access for specialized mental health and addiction treatment programs specific to First Responders and Uniform Personnel.

  2. Provide a wide range of programming and services for the unique needs of the individual. This includes, inpatient, outpatient, community based in-home treatment options.

  3. Provide customized treatment plans to address the unique needs of the individual.

  4. Support the successful reintegration of the client into everyday family life, work and community.

  5. Provide proactive education, resources and programming for organizations in order to prevent the necessity of treatment.

  6. To support improved understanding of opportunities to adopt a preventative, proactive stance as well as a reactive stance if necessary through proper informative, evidence-based processes.

  7. To be well versed in leading edge, evidence-based treatment as well as Bill 163/C211, Government’s PTSD/Suicide Prevention Strategy, The Coroner’s Report in order to be able to implement the above processes and support members/clients effectively.

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                  INTRODUCTION

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 30% of all First Responders, according to the RCMP study (www.rcmpstudy.com). The Ministry of Ontario’s Labour Board has stated that Emergency Service Workers are at least twice as likely as the general population to suffer from PTSD, due to the risk of routine exposure to traumatic stressors. PTSD is a mental illness that involves symptoms such as reliving a psychologically traumatic situation long after any physical danger involved has passed. The degree of severity varies from individual to individual. Other serious and related mental health issues such as anxiety and major depression are just as debilitating.


We have identified the need for occupational specific treatment for these workers because they often struggle with the psychological effects that the job and its culture can have on the individual due to exposure to traumatic/critical incidents. COVID-19 is a new example of the type of job related stress faced by uniform personnel. Results can include development of conditions such as operational stress injury, compassion fatigue, decreased stress tolerance, depression, anxiety and other serious mental health issues such as PTSD.


The Haven will be the first non-profit, inpatient treatment centre exclusive to First Responders and Uniform Personnel in the province. It will provide access to treatment in an efficient manner, eliminate barriers to timely treatment access and stigma in both official languages. It will address and treat the individual from a holistic approach with evidence-based programming. This includes offering preventative and reintegration programs with the goal of trying to reduce future illness, increase quality of life and relationships and decrease the rates of workplace liability and absenteeism. As well, the program will offer inpatient treatment programs for the most serious of ailments, with outstanding post-treatment support for ultimate success of reintegration back into the family unit and the workplace.


‘First Responders and Uniform Personnel’ includes, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Police Officers,
Dispatchers, Correctional Services, Special Constables, Border Service Officers, Emergency room staff (physicians, nurses) and social workers, Military Personnel and their family members.
Our key leaders have had personal experiences whereby, First Responders as friends and
colleagues have died by suicide. It is their passion and dedication to providing culturespecific/
appropriate treatment and services. They hope to enable workers to return to their
families and workplace as whole and healthy as they can be, equipped with the necessary tools to
work through their mental health challenges.


We are excited and honoured to have the opportunity to be able to discuss how you may support
the vision for The Haven.

 

Psychological Services

Guidance On Every Step of the Way

Image by Dan Meyers

WHAT WILL BE OFFERED

The Haven will be the second organization (therapeutic inpatient/outpatient treatment program exclusive to First Responders and Uniform Personnel) to offer, under the same roof, services that include treatment for persons suffering from any and all mental health and addictions related issues, as well as any of these comorbidities for First Responders, Uniform Personnel and their families.

KIND APPROACH

Holistic therapeutic program:
Our program offers the highest quality, leading edge, evidence based therapy. It recognizes all dimensions of the person as a whole, (physical, psychological, mental and spiritual) and how interconnected they are.

A variety of modalities including but not limited to mindfulness meditation will be options. Along with the diversified, applicable and rich workshops, we understand the reality of the daily lives of these members wearing the uniform. It is important to identify that the term “wearing the uniform” applies to emergency room staff and physicians inclusively. Specific workshops on healthy daily living applicable to them and their world will benefit them and support them in their daily lives.

Finally, we encourage and support physical fitness as we are connected physically/mentally. This program in its entirety is experienced with the utmost respect for the client and their individual and unique needs.

Supportive Friend
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INTERNAL (Inpatient & residential treatment programs and services):

The program will offer an in-house, residential treatment program, which is based on a twenty-eight-day model. However, this is not limited to the twenty-eight days and can be adjusted to the unique needs of the individual. It is geared towards supporting individuals in finding solution-focused approaches to mental wellness. This focus could be related to their drug, alcohol and/or prescription drug dependencies, gambling addictions and/or mental For Members… By Members


13 health issues, either concurrently or on their own. It also provides support for those dealing with issues such as depression, compassion fatigue, low stress tolerance, occupational stress/injury and PTSD, so that they can learn to work with these mental health issues and regain their self-empowerment and sense of self-efficacy in their lives.

EXTERNAL (Outpatient, online and in-home community-based services):

The program will offer an in-home/online, community-based program that will support clients externally. This may include individuals who may be unable to attend inpatient residential treatment due to various life commitments or, they may not require such treatment at this point in time.


Alternatively, this program can also be viewed as a stepping stone for individuals to prepare and integrate themselves into the support system, prior to committing themselves into the residential program.


Or, for those who require ongoing support and reintegration back into the community, their families and/or employment, post residential treatment. The practitioners will be qualified and peer reviewed to be recommended and utilized in our outpatient programs.

Image by Lesly Juarez
Psychologist Session

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Appropriate clients for the services offered by The Haven will include First Responders and Uniform Personnel. This includes men and women who wear the uniform and their families, meaning Police Officers, Military Personnel, Correctional Officers, Special Constables, Paramedics, Fire Fighters, Veterinarians, Dispatchers, Call-Takers, Nurses, Emergency room staff (including Social Workers), active, retired or honourably resigned.


Presently in North America, there is no facility that offers this specific type of treatment on a non-profit basis other than La Vigile in Quebec. These individuals require specific and specialized care. Their line of work and the type of therapeutic plan they require demonstrates to us the need and the necessity of having their own therapeutic environment which is culture-specific in which to be supported. Having these clients mixed in with the general population would not be effective or conducive to the success of their treatment. In addition, it would also not be effective for the general population to have these individuals mixed in with their treatment. It could detrimental for both from a therapeutic perspective.

 

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