Dr. Ruzica Jokic says everyday it’s her mission to step outside the box when providing mental health care for her patients.
She is a psychiatrist, researcher and the Clinical Director of the Mood Disorders, Research and Treatment Service at Providence Care. She’s one part of a larger team made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers who run a very busy outpatient clinic for people who have treatment-resistant, mood disorders.
“At any given time, we have more than 800 active clients in this group. And that’s only because of the effort of our team,” says Dr. Jokic. “We work with people with the most complex mood disorders; many have seen other specialists and have had several other treatments before coming here. It’s our job to think outside the box, optimizing treatment by looking at the whole person and not just their disorder.”
Dr. Jokic explains that mood disorders vary and can be complex. Some examples include bi-polar disorder as well as a wide range of depressive disorders.
“These conditions can be very long-term and debilitating but ultimately not giving up and trying different treatments has shown to be effective in improving quality of life,” she explains.
Dr. Jokic’s team is highly respected and widely known across Eastern Ontario, which she says is incredibly rewarding.
“We are unique because from one point, we could be seen as a last resort, but on the other hand we really keep our clients going by providing the best evidence-based treatment, giving them opportunities to participate in research with new projects, which is done in a very careful, organized way.”
From Dr. Jokic’s perspective, the research element of the mood disorder program at Providence Care makes it particularly unique and helps continuously evolve the care provided.
“Our team gives our clients opportunities to participate in research projects that have the ability to positively impact their lives and the lives of many others too.”
The Providence Care psychiatrist advises that everyone’s path to wellness looks different and it’s important to communicate this fundamental concept clearly with every client.
“When the treatment is challenging and the conditions are stubborn and resistant to treatment, it is important to personalize the goals for improvement. Goals have to be realistic, attainable and achievable,” she says.
When Dr. Jokic sits down with clients, she takes the treatment right back to building a strong foundation.
“The sign of health is the ability to love and work. So that means having meaningful relationships and the ability to be productive in whatever way you choose. These are the signs of health we want to focus on and make progress with together.”
With more than 20 years of experience in the mood disorders field, Dr. Jokic says helping individuals improve their quality of life will always be what she takes the most pride in.