1. COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
My name is Dr. Heather Switzer and I’m a Child Psychologist.
2. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN A CF CLINIC?
Our CF clinic Social Worker, Nicole Wright, reached out to me and asked if I'd join their team to assist with mental health screening, and connecting children and their families to local mental health resources.
3. WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?
I’ve learned that there is no typical day in a CF clinic. Our team often goes in many different directions in responding to the needs of children and their families.
4. WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST HIGHLIGHT OF WORKING WITH PEOPLE LIVING WITH CF FOR YOU?
I love working with the kids, and I have learned so much about the unique medical and social challenges for kids with CF. This led me to partner with Dr. Kristi Wright, Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Regina, to complete research to understand the mental health needs of children with CF, their siblings and parents from all across Canada. This has never been done previously, and is much needed to advocate for specific mental health funding and support.
Dr. Wright and I are also working on another project to improve the mental health and quality of life for children and adolescents with CF, and their siblings. We are developing an Internet-Delivered mental health prevention program that will be accessible to children and adolescents with CF and, their siblings in Saskatchewan and possibly across Canada.
5. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT CF CANADA?
CF Canada is a key partner in improving the overall quality of life for those living with CF. From a mental health perspective, CF presents a number of unique challenges. Not only is CF a chronic life-long illness, it also isolates individuals with CF from each other.
There are many low cost and effective psychological interventions to improve the mental wellness of Canadians living with CF. Dr Wright and I are excited to develop these internet-delivered options and to document their effectiveness.