We are a group of health professionals who are passionate about the wellbeing of our Durham community.  Wellness Health Services at the Durham Manor started as a center providing multiple healthcare and outreach services using a holistic approach.  We held wellness classes, workshops, and services of nutritionists, psychotherapists, naturopaths, and a medi-spa.  Our patients and their families saw us as a safe haven where they were always met with hospitality and compassion.

When the COVID pandemic hit, as with other businesses, we were unable to operate.  Not only did we experience the negative consequences of the pandemic, we also saw firsthand the devastation it took on everyone around us.  Naturally, we wanted to be of assistance to the community in whatever way we can.  Lakeridge Health saw our eagerness and enthusiasm to help and chose to collaborate with us by converting Durham Manor into a COVID Assessment Center. 

We ramped up our safety measures to the ministry of health and labour standards, recruited and trained staff, and shortly after, started operations.  The thousands of patients who have come through our doors were met with the same warmth and hospitality that we had come to be known for.  We were even recognized for this when we won Pickering’s Civic Award for Local Business this year. 

However, it was obvious to us that many of our patients were experiencing high levels of anxiety due to COVID.  Many feared what it meant to have a positive result – illness, missed work, transmission to loved ones, further isolation, etc.  We were met with patients’ fears, anger, and distress and we did the best we could to alleviate their anxiety and walk them through each step. 

As we slowly come out of the lockdown and with vaccinations being well underway, people want to move forward from those dark times.  However, those who have experienced prolonged anxiety, fear, depression, and grief will need additional help to process and heal.  That is where Wellness Healthcare Services at Durham Manor continue being a service to the community.  We have recognized a huge gap in the availability of mental health services.  This widespread shortage of mental health services and professionals was present even before the pandemic, but COVID has only further exacerbated this.

The Durham Manor now offers psychotherapy services to address the mental health and wellbeing of the community.  Our Nurse Psychotherapists have trained in the practice of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is an extensively researched psycho-social intervention to improve mental health. Although family doctor’s offices or Family Healthcare Teams can provide the services of a counselor, thousands of Ontarians are caught between long wait times for publicly funded therapists and high costs for quick access to private ones. Community-based mental health resources also have wait lists which means patients may wait a month or more before talking to anyone.