Expanding Access to Mental Health Care in our Community

Patients living with mental health issues often spend days in the CGMH Emergency Department awaiting referral to an inpatient bed in another community and away from their local support system. While a new facility will address these issues with a dedicated inpatient mental health unit as well as a specially designed mental health emergency services unit, we are finding solutions now that are based on innovative partnerships that can expand mental health services and help provide the critical care that is needed today.

“We support a community hospital. And part of a community hospital is moving outside of the actual building and going out to the community and finding needs in the community that can help people so they don’t need the hospital in the end. Programs and innovative partnerships that help us keep well in the community, help the hospital overall.”
– Jory Pritchard-Kerr, Foundation President & CEO

Mental Health Response Unit

In 2016 CGMH’s Mental Health Crisis Team partnered with Collingwood/Blue Mountains OPP and Huronia West OPP to launch a Mental Health Response Unit (MHRU) to respond to police calls for help that are flagged as mental health emergencies. Their goal is to connect safely and effectively those suffering mental health emergencies with community supports and defer trips to the Emergency Department or incarceration.

During the first year of the program, the two OPP partner detachments logged a total of 445 mental health related calls for service. Five years later, the detachments logged a total of 793 mental health related calls – an increase of 78% in five years. When the MHRU responds to these calls, there is a 42% decrease in Emergency Department admissions.

Youth mental health – Finding Headstrong

Youth mental health has come to the fore since the pandemic and CGMH has struck innovative partnerships with community agencies to deliver support to youth in their own environment. In 2021, the Collingwood Hospital Foundation worked with the Henry J. & Marilyn Knowles Fund to support Headstrong, a mental health initiative specifically targeted at youth. Headstrong aims to provide preventative care within the Collingwood Youth Centre, assisting young people with direct access to mental health professionals so that they can gain the tools necessary to move forward with their lives in a healthy way. Helping youth with anxiety, depression, big emotions, parental issues, coping skills, self esteem, trauma, and more, the response to the Headstrong Program has been powerful and the demand for therapists continues to rise.

“We have the perfect storm of this generation growing up without healthy coping mechanisms. Our goal is to teach them how to develop healthy coping mechanisms and then we can hopefully divert any serious crisis later in life.”
– Michele Rich

Thank you to the Henry J. & Marilyn Knowles Fund for supporting the launch of Headstrong. We know that community partnerships create better healthcare for all. That’s why we are working today, for a brighter tomorrow. Learn more about Headstrong:

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