EDUCATION

PhD Candidate,Doctor of Philosophy, Social Work, 2024 (estimated), Factor Inwentash School of Social Work,University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Thesis: “We are just not equipped to handle that: An ethnographic study of the challenges faced by service users and providers around service access for people who are street-involved and experience complex behavioural challenges

Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2018,OCAD University, Toronto, ON

Master of Social Work,Honours, 2013, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Bachelor of Social Work, Honours, 2012, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON

ABOUT ME

Andrea Westbrook (she/her) is a Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Counsellor, and Artist living in Toronto, Ontario.  With a background in art and photography, Andrea champions bringing a creative lens to antiseptic, clinical spaces. 

Andrea is an experienced community and hospital social worker, with a strong clinical background working within interdisciplinary teams. Andrea has well developed mental health intervention skills, with clinical focus in: HIV; Hepatitis C; schizophrenia, psychosis, and hearing voices; trans and gender-diverse clients, substance use; anger management; and working with sex offenders, and has a comprehensive understanding of the pharmacology of mental health medications and street drugs. She has excellent crisis management and de-escalation skills, and has proven leadership skills supporting colleagues’ crisis skills development. She credits her non-traditional problem solving and analytical lens to her career trajectory to social work by way of a formal arts education.

Andrea holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. In September 2019 she will begin her PhD in Social Work at the University of Toronto, researching the challenges faced by service users and providers around non-medical model service access for people who are street-involved and experience complex behavioural presentations. She is keenly engaged in community organizing and advocacy, currently Board President at The Teresa Group and on the board of Family Service Toronto, and actively mentors social workers in the community and through the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.  Andrea has been involved in a range of research initiatives, advisory committees, and focus groups around harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, the judicial system, mental wellness and psychiatric care, and the social determinants of health. Her professional and community involvement has highlighted for her the importance of promoting knowledge transfer in innovative and dynamic ways, and she challenges service providers to include advocacy in their daily work. Within her background as both a community and hospital social worker, she advocates for a focus on holistic client engagement and the promotion of healthy communities. Andrea feels privileged to be invited into the communities she gets to work in, for the incredibly resilient people she meets every day, and for the stories shared with her. She doesn't take this privilege for granted.

From April-October, Andrea can most often be found in the 500-level of the Sky Dome.

Services

- Clinical Consultation

- Case Conferencing

- Training & Education

- Trauma counselling for people who are street-involved

Expertise

- HIV and Hepatitis C

- psychosis and hearing voices

- developmental and childhood trauma; complex trauma and homelessness

- acquired brain injuries

- substance use

- anger management

Location

Downtown Toronto


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