Happy Family Day! Today, we're featuring a husband and wife team who have worked together at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) since 2017. Meet Brendan and Angela, Clinical Supervisors on two of the Vancouver Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams. ACT teams work with the most marginalized and complex individuals who have serious and persistent mental illness concurrent with substance use disorders and other significant health issues, and have not benefited from traditional outpatient programs.
“Angela and I have been married for 13 years - 14 this coming August!" says Brendan. “We enjoy being able to commute together in the mornings and after work – we are best friends and enjoy hanging out with each other. It is helpful having someone in your life who understands the work you do and is a good support. We encourage each other on having a good work/life balance."
At the heart of ACT are trans-disciplinary teams which means nobody has sole responsibility for any one client – it is a shared model of care between an Aboriginal Cultural Support Worker, Peer Support workers, Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Concurrent Disorder Clinicians, Recreation Therapists, Care Coordinators, Addiction Physicians, Psychiatrists and Administrative Support. The team works collaboratively to tailor treatment, rehabilitation and support services so that each client can live successfully in their community. “We have ongoing conversations about client care which supports both learning and striving for better results," says Angela.
“What energizes me are my colleagues and the people we are fortunate to serve - those individuals with complex mental illness and substance use challenges in Vancouver," says Brendan. “It is fascinating work, and the people served by ACT are some of the most resilient, creative, kind-hearted people I've ever worked with."
Brendan and Angela feel well-supported by their team and says “we are fortunate to have such an amazing management team. The ACT teams are always seeking new information and there is such a wealth of knowledge within the building - we share our knowledge and resources with each other. Caring for the people we serve and for each other is the only way to do this work."
Angela is an experience yoga teacher and has specialized in offering yoga for trauma survivors and enhancing mental wellness. “As the majority of clients we work with have experienced trauma and are quite marginalized, it is essential to utilize a trauma informed lens while being client centered," she says.