We see a range of challenging health problems: respiratory problems, gastro-intestinal disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, Hepatitis and HIV infections, drug overdoses, foot disorders and continuous physical injuries as a result of violence on the streets. In the majority of cases, our kids are afflicted by a combination of these.
On-site Care by a Registered Nurse
In partnership with NOVA, a registered nurse is on duty five afternoons a week at Chez Pops to help the kids who come to the Day Centre. The nurse acts as medical consultant, counsellor, educator, liaison and back-up to the frontline youth worker team.
On average, forty kids a week will sit down with the nurse for consultations and many more will drop in for quick exchanges. Drug overdoses and other, sometimes life-threatening emergencies occur at least once a week. The nurse is a vital resource because many of our youths are afraid to visit a CLSC or hospital for reasons like prior negative experiences, lack of identification or health card, because of drug addiction or the fear of being judged. The nurse also refers cases to CLSCs and hospitals when required and provides constant education and prevention information.
Chez Pops is lucky to have two psychologists on staff to provide clinical support to our youth workers and counselling to our street kids.
The psychologists provide clinical consulting services to help staff recognize youths' strengths and areas of vulnerability, assess high-risk situations and protective needs and assess available services and facilitate preventive care. They also provide crisis support and participate in clinical discussions and the development of case files.
The psychologists also provide direct counselling to youths in crisis and provide ongoing support, as well as counselling and therapy designed to promote a better understanding of feelings and behaviours, boost self-esteem and improve self-awareness or self-preservation instincts.
The team of psychologists is essential to our efforts to gain a deeper appreciation of the addictions and mental health problems from which many marginalized youths suffer and of the many risks they face.