We sat down with Dr. Judy Ustina to talk about her work. Here's what she told us:
I'm a child psychiatrist at the Glenrose Hospital (Edmonton, Alberta). Among other things, I run the affective disorder clinic which treats children with depression, bipolar affective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, school refusal phobias, different things like that. We treat these severe psychiatric disorders to help these children become able to function in a regular classroom and at home again.
The earlier you start treatment, the more positive change you can create in a child's life. For example, if you can change the vector they're going off in by five degrees at age six, then by the time they're an adult you've dramatically changed what they're capable of doing in their lives, the direction they go, the way they feel as a grownup. I help these children believe in themselves, help themselves academically, and give them some direction. Often if they're left without intervention they end up feeling like a failure, which dramatically affects them the rest of their lives.
When you work with kids, there's a real hope that you can dramatically change the kind of life they are going to live for the better. We work with these children and their families, and help them before negative thought processes and behaviors become ingrained. I do what I do because I love it.