Maria Del Fine

For Maria Del-Fine, working with mental health & addictions patients in the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) is personal.

Maria completed her degree in sociology, focusing on addictions when she started to recognize some warning signs in herself.

“I started to drink more and more, and started to feel unwell,” she said. “I had to step back and ask for help. I was experiencing suicidal feelings and needed to work on harm reduction.”

For Maria, her drinking was affecting her mental health and reducing the effectiveness of her medication. It was difficult, but she realized she needed to listen to her doctors and realize they were not out to get her.

“I swallowed my pride and knew I needed to make some changes,” she said.

Her experience, and the conflict with her own care team, has ultimately led her to her role as Peer Support Worker at Joseph Brant Hospital. In her role, Maria is able to apply her own experience and be an advocate for the patient.

“I see both worlds, and I’m trying to educate people on the stigma of mental illness,” she said. “We need to treat mental health & addictions as a medical issue, and not a moral issue.”

Maria is an advocate for fluid conversations between patients and clinical staff. She believes in giving patients a voice in their own treatment plan.

In her role, she works with individual patients and groups to share her experience and a representative that “this too shall pass” and working with patients after isolation or seclusion.

“We talk through options for the future and I ask them ‘What is it that you want?’”

For more information about the Mental Health & Addictions Program at Joseph Brant Hospital, visit