Building Trust and Advocating for Seniors

Introducing Front-Line Seniors’ Social Worker Shallah Jamal-Somani

Over 1.3 million Ontarians—many of them seniors—suffer from a combination of mental and physical illnesses. Frequently, one illness will not be detected, even though physical and mental illnesses co-occur up to 45 per cent of the time.

Shallah Jamal-Somani, Social Worker, Trillium Health Partners
Shallah Jamal-Somani, Social Worker, Trillium Health Partners

The Gordon and Donna Feeney Centre for Seniors’ Medical Psychiatry
Last year Trillium Health Partners established the Gordon and Donna Feeney Centre for Seniors’ Medical Psychiatry through a transformational investment of $5 million. Their new Centre supports the work of Trillium Health Partners within the Medical Psychiatry Alliance, an unprecedented mental health care partnership between Trillium Health Partners, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto), and the University of Toronto.

Trillium Health Partners’ partnership commitment to the Medical Psychiatric Alliance is to lead the Collaborative Care Program. Because patients with combined physical and mental illnesses comprise more than 25 per cent of the practices of family physicians and medical subspecialties, it was essential to integrate and coordinate the collaboration of care between all clinicians—family physicians to psychiatrists to specialists to social workers.

Front-Line Social Work for Our Seniors
Enter Shallah Jamal-Somani, a social worker with our hospital for the past fifteen years and now also the first social worker for the Seniors’ Medical Psychiatry Out-Patient Collaborative. Jamal-Somani was the ideal choice for this new, important position because she was a clinician with Hamilton Health Sciences and Mount Sinai Hospital before coming to THP.

Jamal-Somani refers to herself as a “front-line social worker” because she visits the homes of seniors who are living with mental illness. Once there, she gradually builds trust with the seniors and then provides much needed supports, including counselling, education, advocacy, and helps them navigate the health care system they have difficulty with.

“I’m honoured to be a part of such a meaningful program,” says Jamal-Somani. “I love being involved in creating system-wide changes for our seniors with mental illnesses and distressing physical symptoms.”

>> Please consider making an investment in seniors’ health and wellness today. Your support helps us provide exceptional front-line seniors’ care of the kind that Shallah provides.