serve, guard and save
A breakwater is a wall that stands between the calm of the harbour and the chaos and violence of the open sea. Some people are willing to take on “breakwater” occupations: as their life work they choose to stand facing outward toward danger, so that those behind them can enjoy security and peace. They take on the physical and psychological risks of confronting violence, disorder, and suffering, when most others would choose to look away.
Their work is vital, but it can take a heavy toll. They can find themselves feeling worn out, angry, high-strung, or depressed. It can get harder and harder for them to leave the stress of their job behind when a shift is over. They can struggle with evils they’ve seen, or with the consequences of their own split-second decisions. Sometimes they’ve seen so much that it sours their view of the world and human nature. They can wind up feeling isolated and alone, like no one can possibly understand what they’ve been through.
We created Breakwater for these people. Led by clinical psychologists with extensive scientific and clinical experience, Breakwater’s team uses research-based methods to help those who serve, guard, and save.
Here's How We Do It
- Establish or rule out diagnoses of depression, PTSD, or other conditions
- Give an up-to-date picture of how well an individual is coping with stress, relative to his or her individual baseline
- Measure relevant aspects of personality such as resilience and vulnerability to stress
- Assess mental capacities that can degrade after injury or chronic stress, such as problem-solving, attention, and memory
- Directly measure the functioning of the brain and autonomic nervous system through innovative research-based tools such as quantitative electroencephalography and heart-rate variability
EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback), a brain-training procedure in which the individual learns to control his or her brain activity through moment-to-moment measurement of EEG (brain waves). As the brain’s electrical activity is recorded and analyzed, signals are provided to the brain when it shifts its activity in the direction of better regulation, promoting further, similar shifts. Neurofeedback is tailored to the individual’s own physiology using an initial norm-based assessment of brain function called a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG).
Heart-Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback, a procedure that increases the brain’s ability to adapt its response to stress by challenging the autonomic nervous system. HRV biofeedback is effective at promoting relaxation, decreasing anxiety, and contributing to better coping with stress. Research has also shown that it can reduce PTSD symptoms.
Some of these interventions are done in the office, while others can be managed from home through the use of apps, wearables, and hand-held devices. All have been shown in scientific research to increase the brain’s capacity for self-regulation.
You can use your employer’s extended health benefit plan to cover the cost of our services. Some employers also have dedicated funds set aside to pay for needed mental health services.
If you’re currently off work:
Your disability insurer or WSIB might have funds available to pay for services that are geared toward getting you back to your job.
If you’re an active military service member:
Please talk to your base medical officer about receiving services from us.
If you're a first responder:
There are funding options through WSIB's Community Mental Health Program, which you can access even if you plan to remain at work.
If you’re a veteran:
Please talk to your Veterans Affairs Canada Case Manager. If you haven’t got one, see the VAC website or call their contact line - 1 800 522 2122 - to explore your eligibility for services.
If you’re an organization:
We can work on a contractual or a fee-for-service basis, depending on your organization’s needs.
Sometimes disability insurance companies require that we send them periodic updates on progress, but they themselves have policies to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.