Sharon’s StoryHow counselling helped a Nova Scotia teacher overcome trauma

For 63-year-old teacher Sharon M., Carepath’s mental health services were something she assumed she’d never need. Today, she knows better, calling Carepath the “lifeline” she credits for getting her through one of her worst years yet.

While in the midst of a difficult recovery from a concussion, Sharon suffered another trauma: the sudden death of her father-in-law, who unexpectedly collapsed and died on her living room floor despite her efforts to save him. “It was a very traumatic event that led to night terrors,” she recalls. “I wasn’t getting any sleep at all, and that was interfering with my recovery.”

As a member of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Sharon knew she had access to Carepath’s mental health services, but had no idea what to expect when she decided to reach out for help. After filling out a simple questionnaire, her first virtual appointment with Psychotherapist Dr. Deborah McLeod was booked for just a few days later.

“In the past, I accessed counselling services through the union. You question the competence. You question the connection. [But] from the moment I had contact with Dr. McLeod, it was a comfort level beyond anything I expected or have ever experienced,” Sharon says of her first meeting with Dr. McLeod. “She was compassionate and sympathetic and extremely knowledgeable!”

Dr. McLeod, who is also the Clinical Director of Carepath, started Sharon on a sleep program to tackle her insomnia and night terrors. She also re-introduced her to meditation – a practice Sharon had already tried (and quickly abandoned), which she now considers to be “a saving grace.” 

The two women continued to connect weekly until Sharon no longer needed regular counselling. “I honestly cannot say where I would be – and I certainly would not be in the place I am now – if it wasn’t for them.”

Thinking back, Sharon wonders what she would have done if her union hadn’t provided her with free and easy access to Carepath. “Through the public healthcare system, who’s to say when I would have been able to receive that sort of support?” She adds that pandemic-related closures would have likely made it even harder to get the help she needed. 

“I truly was not in a good place,” she says. “I am just so thankful and grateful because Carepath provided me with exactly what I needed when I needed it.”