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Coalition on HIV and Mental Health

Scott Bowler, MSW, RSW, is one of the members of the Coalition on HIV and Mental Health, which offers group therapy in a community setting.

Formed in early 1999 by a group of frontline workers and HIV community members interested in exploring the mental health concerns of people living with HIV, the coalition has developed into a collaborative service delivery project whose members represent HIV community members, community-based AIDS service organizations and hospital-based HIV medical and mental health clinics. The majority of coalition members are social workers. 

With funding from the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation for a pilot research study (The Challenging Depression and HIV Project) the coalition offered three 20-session groups for people living with HIV from late 2000 to mid-2001.  Results from this initial collaborative service delivery project were presented at local community meetings, hospital presentations, provincial and national conferences.

The coalition is committed to collaborative service delivery that draws on the strengths of group leaders from the HIV community, hospital-based services and community-based AIDS services.    Since the initial pilot research project was completed, coalition members have facilitated groups on a variety of HIV-related themes and issues: “Living Well: An Exploration of Living with HIV”, a group for HIV-positive women, a group for people newly diagnosed HIV-positive, and groups for long-term survivors.

All group leaders of coalition-sponsored groups have received training in the social group work model and also attend regular consultation and training with other coalition group leaders. Coalition groups meet in community agency settings. Prior to participating in a group, potential group members meet with the group co-leaders once or twice.

If you are interested in more information about upcoming coalition-sponsored groups, you can contact Scott Bowler at the Clinic for HIV-Related Concerns at 416-586-4800 ext. 5350.