Lisa Morton, EHN Sandstone’s Residential Care Manager, is passionate about providing well-rounded care and support for those with mental health and addiction challenges. Her background in nursing, coupled with her warm, inviting personality, allow her to support Sandstone’s patients and advocate for their needs. Lisa has also experienced the effects of mental illness and addiction within her own family and those close to her, which helps her to remain driven and passionate to support Sandstone’s patients.
Can you tell us a bit about your role as Residential Care Manager?
I am the first Registered Psychiatric Nurse in the Residential Care Manager role at Sandstone. During my schooling, I received in-depth training in counselling and medical and psychiatric direct client care. This helps me understand and empathize with our patients, as many are often suffering from a mental health ailment at the root of their addiction.
I also previously worked as a Mental Health and Addictions worker, which closely resembles the roles of Sandstone’s support staff. I think this past experience has helped me to understand the needs of Sandstone’s employees, resulting in more well-rounded patient care.
What drew you to begin working with people suffering from addiction in the first place?
I have always been drawn to working with vulnerable populations, and am a huge proponent of client advocacy and psychosocial rehabilitation [treatment approach designed to teach emotional, cognitive, and social skills to help people with mental illness live and work in their communities as independently as possible]. My earliest work with individuals with mental health issues was as a volunteer in a hospice, primarily supporting those with dementia, and I later volunteered in a general psychiatric unit. I think what drew me to psychiatry, and eventually addiction therapy, were my experiences while growing up.
If you are comfortable, would you mind sharing your personal experience with mental illness and addiction?
I have many family members who suffer from mental illness and consequent addictions. I grew up in an abusive alcoholic home, and landed in foster care as a result. I have also had loved ones pass away from alcohol and drug overuse.
I think having these direct experiences made me want to advocate for others to help prevent or repair components of their lives — trauma, vicarious trauma, damaged or sometimes irreparable relationships with others and themselves — that could lead to harmful situations.
What is your favourite thing about being EHN Sandstone’s Residential Care Manager?
I am always growing and learning from both our patients and our team.
Our patients all have their own unique stories and journeys that bring them through our front doors. I learn so much from each of them on a daily basis, from their amazing resiliency to their ability to be vulnerable and learn how to make needed changes in their lives.
As a small team, the Sandstone staff members are able to work closely and learn a lot from each other. Many team members have lived experience or have experience directly related to mental health and addictions. Our educational pathways may be different, but we all share the same common goal — to meet our patients where they are and help them reach their fullest potential.
Have there been any particularly rewarding experiences while working at EHN Sandstone?
Mental Health and Addictions work is not an easy field to be in, especially with exasperating factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic. People in this field must be passionate about the people they work with. Seeing patients at the beginning of their treatment in comparison to when they are completing treatment is a huge reward. Knowing that my staff and I have helped them get to that point is truly rewarding.
Are there any success stories that stand out?
We have had many patients reach out during or after treatment wanting to help others overcome addiction. Whether that means becoming an alumni speaker for EHN, or going back to school in the human services field, it is inspiring to see how life-changing treatment can be.
Why would you recommend an inpatient treatment centre such as EHN Sandstone to someone who is considering finding help to overcome their addiction?
I love the home-like atmosphere of Sandstone. This, coupled with the lived, clinical, medical and psychiatric expertise of the staff members makes Sandstone a wonderful place to receive treatment.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mental health or substance abuse afflictions, EHN Sandstone is available to help. Contact us to learn more about our customized programs, from detox and inpatient treatment, to family participation and aftercare planning. Call our Calgary addiction treatment centre today at 587-350-6818.
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