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Host Chapter: Halifax Categories: Adults Virtual Event Province Wide

Pinwheel Wellness Centre (Mental Health Services)

Pinwheel Wellness Centre supports Autistic adults who are experiencing mild-to-moderate mental health distress.


Ages/Life Stage:

Pinwheel Wellness Centre supports Autistic adults (19+) who are experiencing mild-to-moderate mental health distress on a short-term basis (8-10 sessions)

Location:

In-person services:

Bedford Place Mall  
1658 Bedford Highway, Suite 55 Bedford, NS B4A 2X9 

We also provide online and telephone appointments for Autistic adults across Nova Scotia for Counselling, Occupational Therapy and Social Work services.

Hours of Operation:

The Pinwheel Wellness Centre will respond to calls and e-mails between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Emails and phone calls are not checked outside office hours. Due to a high volume of inquiries, please allow Centre staff 1-2 business days to return your call and/or e-mail. 

Wait List:

Please Note: There is currently a waitlist to access services at the Pinwheel Wellness Centre, but we are actively taking in new referrals. Please submit referrals online, and a member of our team will be in contact with you.

Contact Us:

To access services at Pinwheel Wellness, please complete the referral form.

For more information, please contact us at pinwheel@autismns.ca or (782) 321-8811.

The Pinwheel Wellness Centre is not an emergency or crisis service. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or need immediate support, please contact a Mental Health Crisis Line, or one of the following below:

Additional Information:

We have an Access Guide that provides additional information and visuals on all our services for both in-person or online services. 

View our Access Guide here.

How to Get Connected:

The referral form can be filled out by the individual on their own (self-referral), by a professional, a caregiver, a family or friend.

Services are available to individuals across the province of Nova Scotia.

Once the referral is received, the Intake Coordinator will contact the individual seeking services either by phone or email to schedule an intake appointment within seven to ten (7-10) business days from the day the referral was submitted.

Referral Form

What is an Intake Appointment? 

The intake appointment is meant to learn about the individual seeking support to help them connect to the most appropriate services.

What to Expect During the Intake Appointment:

The Intake Coordinator will meet with the individual for one hour (60 minutes) to ask a series of questions to determine what would be the best fit for them as a service. During this appointment, the individual will also be acknowledging and signing consent forms.

An individual may not know the answer to all the questions during the intake meeting, and that is okay! The Centre staff are available to support one through this process.

What to Expect After the Intake Appointment:

After the intake appointment and once the consent forms are completed, the Centre’s Intake Coordinator will follow up by e-mail with next steps and recommendations. The individual may be connected to a service at Pinwheel Wellness Centre, to an Autism Nova Scotia program, and/ or they may be connected to a service outside of Autism Nova Scotia. This will depend on the information shared during the intake, which will help the Intake Coordinator coordinate services to best support the individual.

For more information, please contact us at pinwheel@autismns.ca or (782) 321-8811.

What is Counselling Therapy?

Counselling Therapy is a process where the therapist supports the client in identifying, developing, and using supports to increase personal growth, wellbeing, and mental health. The counselling therapy relationship is collaborative between the therapist and the client and is a mutual space guided by the client’s values, wants and needs.

Common areas of support counselling therapy can help with are:

  • Low mood
  • Grief & loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Life transitions
  • Difficult thoughts or feelings
  • Identity exploration/navigation
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Sexuality & Gender
  • Body image
  • Challenging relationships with food and eating
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Family dynamics
  • Autistic burnout
  • Workplace stress
  • Navigating Autism identity

For more information, please contact us at pinwheel@autismns.ca or (782) 321-8811

Our Counselling Therapy Team:

Ray Frizzell, MACP, RCT, CCC 

Pinwheel Wellness Centre Supervisor 
Registered Counselling Therapist-Candidate (RCT-C) 
Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC)
Pronouns: he/him

Learn more about Ray

Email: pinwheel@autismns.ca
Phone: (782) 321-8811

Alison (Alie) David, MACP, RCT-C 
Pinwheel Wellness Counselling Therapist (part-time) 
Registered Counselling Therapist- Candidate (RCT-C)
Pronouns: she/her

Learn more about Alison

Email: pinwheel@autismns.ca 
Phone: (782) 321-8811 

What is Occupational Therapy? 

Occupational Therapy is a health profession that promotes health through occupations. Occupations refer to activities. These include activities people do to take care of themselves, activities they do for fun, and activities they do that make themselves feel proud. An Occupational Therapist will support a person in doing their everyday occupations by considering the individuals personal, environmental, and occupational health.

Our Occupational Therapy services are free.

For more information, please contact us at pinwheel@autismns.ca or (782) 321-8811

Our Occupational Therapy Team:

Becky Evans (O.T. Reg NS)
Pronouns: she/her

Learn more about Becky

 

Gabriela Nogueira (O.T. Reg. NS)

Pronouns: she/her

Learn more about Gabriela

What is Social Work?

A Social Worker supports individuals in accessing and coordinating services that they may find difficult to navigate on their own. Social Workers assist individuals in communicating their needs, empowering individuals by providing them with tools to advocate more effectively and exploring strategies to deal with life challenges.

For more information, please contact us at pinwheel@autismns.ca or (782) 321-8811

 

Our Social Work Team:  

Pamela Secci, MSW, RSW 
Pinwheel Wellness Centre Intake Coordinator 
Registered Social Worker 
Pronouns: she/her 

Email: pinwheel@autismns.ca
Phone: (782) 414-1024

What are Wellness Groups?

Wellness groups at Pinwheel Wellness Centre are facilitated by team members consisting of Counselling Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers and clinical practicum students. Wellness groups run for six (6) to eight (8) weeks for approximately 1 hour per week. Workshop lengths can range from 1-3h. 

What to expect?

Once a Wellness Group Application is submitted, the individual will be placed on the waitlist and will be contacted about upcoming cohortsSome wellness groups require a pre-screen assessment to ensure that it is a good fit. This pre-screen will be completed by one of the group facilitators.  

Eligibility criteria for groups:

The wellness groups and workshops focus on supporting Autistic adults (ages 19 and older) with different topics. Individuals must be comfortable being in a group setting, as well as participating and being able to commit for the duration of the group length. 

Types of groups:

Topics covered in the groups can vary. It is recommended to reach out to the Intake Coordinator to have the most up to date information on which groups are upcoming.

For more information, please contact us at hhammad@autismns.ca or 782-414-1024

Anxiety Support Group: This group helps participants understand more about anxiety, including how it affects their thoughts and body, ways to deal with it, understanding feelings, managing energy, and self-care practices. The group meets weekly for 8-week installments, with 4-8 participants per cohort, led by Pinwheel Wellness Centre staff and/or students. 

Depression Support Group: Designed to offer a supportive space for discussing and managing depression, this group encourages open processing of experiences and engagement in meaningful discussions. It includes psychoeducation on related topics, facilitated discussions, and take-home activities for self-reflection. The group meets weekly for 6-week installments, with 4-8 participants per cohort. 

The Body-Mind Connection Group: This group explores the concept of interoception, often referred to as the eighth sense. The series focuses on sensory discovery—becoming more aware of what is happening inside your body, such as feeling hungry, thirsty or other body sensations. By understanding and responding to bodily signals, individuals can better meet their physical and emotional needs. This group meets weekly for 8 weeks, with 4-8 participants per cohort, led by Pinwheel Wellness Centre staff and/or students. 

Sleep Workshop: This workshop is all about getting better sleep. We talk about the sleep cycle, what affects how well you sleep and how to keep a good sleep routine. We want to help everyone learn how to make their sleep better. This workshop is a one-time, 2-hour session. 

Ages/Life Stages: Adults (individuals 19 years of age and up) 

Program Cost: Free 

Locations: Wellness groups are delivered virtually 

The Pinwheel Wellness Centre hosts clinical placements for variety of students in clinical placements. A placement with the Centre provides direct supervisor from a registered clinician who has experience supporting Autistic people.

Field Placement Offerings: 

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy programs

Master of Education in Counselling Therapy programs

Master of Arts in Counselling Therapy programs

Master of Health Promotion programs

Master of Social Work programs

Bachelor of Health Promotion programs

Bachelor of Education programs

Student Internship Application Process:  

  1. Complete the Autism Nova Scotia Student Placement Application:
    If you are interested in completing your student placement with Autism Nova Scotia, please complete this application.
  • This application takes about 30-45 minutes to complete
  • Once completed the application will be sent directly to our Student Intake Coordinator. They will be in contact with you in 5-7 business days

*Please Note: Applications are reviewed on a “first-come-first-serve” basis.

Autism Nova Scotia requires all of the following information before placement applications will be reviewed. These documents can be uploaded into the application directly:

  • Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Child Abuse Registry Check
  • Resume
  • School Contract
  • Placement package
  • Insurance covering placement

Additionally, student applicants will be asked to review and sign the following documents, as part of the application process:

  • Confidentiality Policy
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Internet Policy
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Code of Professional Conduct
  • COVID policies
  • COVID proof of vaccinations

*Please Note: Applications are not processed until all the information outlined above is provided to the Autism Nova Scotia Student Placement Coordinator.

2. Attend a Student Placement Interview:
Autism Nova Scotia’s Student Intake Coordinator reviews all Student Applications and connects with all student to arrange an interview.

Interviews are held online via zoom at a time that works best for the student and staff facilitating the interview.

This interview is to help Student Intake Coordinator gain an understanding of the student’s background, interests and future career plans. This supports the Student Intake Coordinator in deciding if Autism Nova Scotia is able to offer a placement applicable to the student’s program recruitments.

*Students are asked to bring their school’s placement package and a resume to this interview.

  1. Attend Mandatory Student Placement Training:
    All students are required to complete Autism Nova Scotia’s online training module. This will be provided to students after all the interview. Students will be required to upload their certificate of completion to the BetterImpact application.
  2. Connect to your Pinwheel Wellness Site Supervisor:

Once all the onboarding is completed the Student Intake Coordinator will connect accepted students to their Autism Nova Scotia Site Supervisor.

For more information, please contact the Autism Nova Scotia Student Intake Coordinator, Kathleen Watson at kwatson@autismns.ca or by calling 902-446-4995.

Contact:

Ray Frizzell, Centre Supervisor


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