Hear from our MDs

Why We Created BRIA

August 25, 2022

With decades of experience working as reproductive mental health experts in academic hospitals, we have the necessary skills to build and lead a multidisciplinary women’s mental health program. Our mission is to ensure that women+ in Ontario have timely access to the highest quality of mental health care across the reproductive life stages (trying to conceive, pregnancy, postpartum, and perimenopause). Currently, the experts in this field are congregated in the downtown core of major cities across Canada, leaving the rural areas with little-to-no access to specialized services. Most psychiatric care in academic centres is restricted to individuals in local catchment areas and referrals from physicians affiliated with the hospital. With a large number of patient referrals and a limited number of psychiatrists with specialty training in women’s mental health, there is a bottleneck in the system which prolongs wait times. Also, since patients must pay independently for most types of talk therapy or counselling and there is no easy way to find specialized therapists, the system can feel very fragmented and inaccessible, as patients try to navigate it alone. The most effective mental health care consists of both talk therapy and medications, if needed, and the above systemic issues make this gold standard difficult to find for most women who are struggling. A more efficient program offers a trained care coordinator to triage patients and offer a vast array of mental health services, depending on a patient’s symptoms and stressors.  

For years, we have dreamed of developing a “one-stop shop” for women- a place where they can have all of their mental health needs met under one “roof”. Bria offers seamless, integrated and comprehensive care with social workers and psychotherapists who can tailor treatment to patients’ needs with individual, couples and group therapy. Our psychiatrists and gynecologists provide consultation and medical management including initiating medications and hormone assessments, when necessary. We provide a community of allied mental health services such as lactation consultants, career and parenting coaches, sleep doulas, and yoga and mindfulness practitioners for each reproductive phase. These services are vetted to offer experienced, mother-friendly and female-focused healthcare workers so there is no conflicting information or shaming of women at these vulnerable stages. 

When the pandemic hit, it became obvious that we do not require a bricks-and-mortar clinic in order to provide the best mental health care. Telemedicine has become a highly acceptable and reliable platform to assess and treat mental health concerns in people across the province and eliminates the need for patients to travel long distances. There is significant cost savings for patients as virtual care relieves the stress associated with time off work, travel and parking, and the need to arrange child-care. Virtual care is optimal for most women and it has become their preferred medium for therapy, even in a post-pandemic world. 

Women with mental health needs are too often neglected due to gaps in care. The current services that exist to treat this population are often fragmented with long waitlists. We are so excited to offer BRIA as a solution for women who are looking for timely, accessible, and comprehensive mental health care during the vulnerable reproductive life stages. We look forward to helping you feel better with BRIA.

Written By:

Dr. Bev Young

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