Why Trust Susumai House?
“Susu mai” is a respectful way to say “welcome, come over” in Samoan. That’s what we’d like you to do if you are looking for treatment. Come to us, where you will be welcomed, respected and treated warmly.
I am Jacqueline Brown, Business Director of Susumai House. I was looking for a name for the company that sounded nice in English but also meant “welcome” and Susumai fits the bill. It also had a personal resonance for me as one of my best friends grew up in the region.
My motive for starting Susumai House is to provide the type of treatment I was searching for but could not find. Both of my sons are depression survivors – and I count my blessings daily. I have spent many nights in the emergency rooms of hospitals only to be sent home in the morning with my suicidal sons because, at that moment, their actions were not acute enough for them to be treated. They knew the right things to say when the consultant psychiatrists arrived in the morning (why do crises always happen at night when any medical person with seniority is going to be tucked up in their beds asleep?). I have felt far too often that I was using all my energy to keep them alive but I couldn’t find the consistent support we needed.
One problem with our health care system is you are no one’s client. In Canada we pay a lot into healthcare through taxes, and I totally respect the over-worked family doctor, but there is little follow-through in any treatment program. For example, if you go in to see your doctor and say you have stomach pains, they will provide treatment and then you leave. They are not going to call you in a few days and ask if the treatment they suggested worked or if you are feeling better. You are not their client. Unlike other businesses, their continued acceptance as your doctor does not really depend on them ensuring you have great customer service. If you want to stay healthy, you have to motivate yourself and push for the answers even if you are not sure what the question are!
With depression it can be difficult because the symptoms include feeling worthless and a lack of focus, plus many feel people with mental illness feel embarrassed and that their suffering is not worth the effort of treatment. “You have so much compared to people living in tents in Haiti and Syria – what’s wrong with you?” says the bullying depressed brain to its sufferer. Or maybe you were living in a tent in Syria or Haiti but now you are safer in Canada or the US. Even after such trauma you still cannot catch a break: your brain tells you to stop your whining and get over it! “You’re such a loser that’s why things are falling apart at work,” that bullying brain continues.
Depressed people continually go into their family doctor to complain about the myriad aches and pains that occur due to their depression and they are sent home with anti-depressants and a remedy for whatever ache brought them into the clinic that day. No one makes sure that all of the treatment is working towards recovery, which is why you have people who can honestly proclaim that they have been suffering from chronic, clinical depression for 20 years. Yet depression is treatable. On top of that, it feels sometimes like the professionals keep the list of potential therapies close to their chests like poker cards. For example, you find about other treatments only when the last one failed. I have so many stories about this, but this blog is already approaching novel length, so I’ll save that for another “conversation”.
Recently my eldest aged out of the child psychiatry programs and I had to find someone to treat his depression as an adult in a new area as we’d just moved. Finally, after many months of being on a waiting list, our name was at the top and a local psychiatrist was willing to take us on. It was just after Halloween 2015 – I called the receptionist at the hospital, excited, thrilled, relieved, to have earned an appointment. She said, “Yes, the doctor will see you. His first appointment is August 9th 2016 at 2:45 pm”. I probably screamed.
We did manage to get a cancellation appointment in January 2016, however. The psychiatrist welcomed us into the office then said “tell me about yourself and I’ll see if I can help you”.
To me and many others who have been looking for help, the word that stung was “see” – we still had another hurdle to jump. As my son told his story, with small interjections from me as I didn’t want to appear pushy and thus jeopardize our potential for treatment, I prayed that he’d hit the correct, though unknown, chords for this doctor. I prayed that whatever my son said would fall into the category required for the psychiatrist to accept us as patients.
When he did say “I think I can help”, tears flowing down my face – I silently cried my relief. As we were leaving, I leaned over to the doctor and said “what we need is a rehab for chronic depression” and I was surprised by how whole-heartedly he agreed. I had this discussion with many other mental health professionals over the following months and when Stephanie agreed that she was interested too, we started the work to create Susumai House.
Many health care professionals validated what we feel: that you shouldn’t have to wait until you are acute – until you have that noose around your neck – before you are provided consistent, intense treatment that can help the depressed move from unmotivated misery to recovered wellness. This type of earlier intervention to persistent depression can prevent it from becoming acute and thereby save so many people from the misery of staying stewed in their condition.
Stephanie has been treating the mentally ill for over 15 years: in rehab facilities, as a private counsellor, and as community mental health care team manager. She feels that office-based treatments are not as effective and that residential treatment, like ours, have better outcomes. In an nurturing, vacation-like environment, she can work on addressing thought and behaviour based things that contribute to keeping depressed people stuck in their disease.
Through Susumai House you will receive treatment that is immersive and focussed enough on YOU to really make a difference. There is no one-size fits all solution – depression is too complex to have a single off-the-peg treatment for all sufferers. And you are our client so we make sure that your recovery continues once you leave the cocoon of residential treatment and return to your “real life”. We’ll be your contact when you want to discuss changes in your life or treatment options so that nothing derails the recovery that you will achieve with the Susumai House treatment. You are assigned a Wellness Advocate who works with you in your own community after the residential portion of treatment. Who follows you, remains in contact for as long as you need (we figure this to be two years) so that recovery is lasting. Permanent. And of course, we won’t just drop you after two years – we’ll be your cheerleader, motivator, sounding board for our life times!
We are so excited to present the Susumai Program to you. Whether you are looking for treatment for yourself or your loved one, you need to call us on 1-888-797-7112, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just go right ahead and complete the online intro survey and we’ll get things started right away.