Dr. Brasch joined the Academic Department and St. Joseph's Healthcare in July 1997 after completing a fellowship in emergency psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She was Director of the Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) from 2000 to 2014 and worked to develop the PES as a Clinical Teaching Unit for residents and medical students. The PES offers a rich training environment as it provides the opportunity for learners to see large numbers of patients with a variety of psychopathologies. In addition, trainees can learn brief medication and psychotherapy techniques, the basics of social psychiatry and mental health administration, the medico-legal aspects of psychiatry, and the relationship between med-surg illness and psychiatry in the PES. The knowledge and skills that trainees acquire depends on their level of training and individual needs.
Dr. Brasch’s work in with suicidal patients in the Psychiatric Emergency Service led her to become interested in the recovery process after a suicide attempt. Dr. Brasch is the lead researcher for the Reasons to go on Living Project which seeks to better understand factors important in recovery after suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt. Using a website, www.thereasons.ca, stories are collected anonymously from people who made a suicide attempt and chose life. Some of the stories are posted on the website and all submissions are used in qualitative research with Dr. Kirkpatrick and research students. Dr. Brasch speaks frequently about the Reasons to go on Living Project both locally and nationally.
Dr. Brasch is actively involved in medical education. She is Chair of the SJHH Medical Education Committee and hosted the weekly Clinical Psychiatry Rounds at St. Joseph’s Healthcare until June 2011. She gives presentations to medical students, clinical clerks, residents and other trainees about suicide risk assessment, assessment and management of agitated patients and other topics related to suicide and emergency psychiatry.
Dr. Brasch is on the Board of Directors of the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton (www.spcch.org) and was co-chair of the committee that created the Hamilton Suicide Prevention Strategy. She is now co-chair of the Hamilton Suicide Prevention Roundtable which is overseeing implementation of the Strategy.