Cornwall Ontario — The Ontario government launched Ontario Comprehensive Mental Health and Addiction Strategy three years ago. The focus of the first phase of the strategy is to create a more responsive and integrated system for children and youth with mental health issues. The strategy included a commitment to strengthen and improve the community-based system of mental health supports. This commitment resulted in the Moving on Mental Health action plan. The initial phase of this action plan was the announcement of 34 geographical service areas to ensure that children, youth and families across the province can access the same services and have clear pathways to care.
The Ministry has now identified lead agencies in 14 of these service areas. Cornwall Community Hospital has been identified as the lead child and youth mental health agency for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. “This designation has afforded us the opportunity to create a system that will be seamless, family focused, and serve as a foundation for garnering community engagement,” said Christine Penney, Vice-President of Community Programs for CCH.
The lead agencies will provide strategic leadership and system planning to improve delivery of core services for children and youth. A key goal is to strengthen effective collaboration with other sectors and community partners. “We are promoting local solutions through enhanced collaboration,” added Penney. In our first year, we will invite other SDG partners, youth and families to work with us in the planning process. That will set the stage for transforming the service experience of children and youth with mental health problems and their families. The work undertaken during the transition period will lead to the development of the initial elements of a Core Services Delivery Plan and a Community Mental Health Plan for children and youth.
Currently, Children’s Mental Health Services in SDG are provided by the CCH Children’s Mental Health Program and L’Equipe Psychosociale. Each agency sees approximately 1000 children and youth in need of help each year. They offer a variety of core services from the youth transition improvement program, to the day treatment program, to intensive home support services. All of the services currently being provided will continue to be offered with no abrupt changes to core service delivery in the area.
“I have the pleasure of working with a dedicated team who always have the best interests of children at the forefront in all the work they do,” said Deena Shorkey, Manager of the children’s mental health programs for CCH. “We are excited to take on this lead role. We are also grateful that we have committed and passionate community partners with whom we can work to build a system that better meets the mental health needs of children and youth in our community.”