Im­prov­ing Men­tal Health ser­vices the goal of new Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team


Swift Cur­rent has be­come the sixth Saskatchew­an com­mu­nity to un­veil a Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team to as­sist in­di­vid­u­als deal­ing with men­tal health chal­lenges.

A new seven per­son Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team, one of a to­tal of nine teams which will be in place by the end of the month, was in­tro­duced dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Swift Cur­rent on March 8. The prov­ince has pre­vi­ously launched com­mu­nity re­cov­ery teams in Saska­toon, Regina, Moose Jaw, York­ton and Wey­burn, while Prince Al­bert and North Bat­tle­ford will have their teams an­nounced later in March.

The Swift Cur­rent team con­sists of three com­mu­nity men­tal health nurses, a so­cial worker, and oc­cu­pa­tional therapist, an ad­dic­tions worker plus team lead. They will be op­er­at­ing with a dif­fer­ent fo­cus from their ex­ist­ing ser­vice model.

“We’ll be able to pro­vide un­tra­di­tional ser­vices. So his­tor­i­cally, ser­vices were pro­vided in an of­fice set­ting. What the Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team al­lows us to do is to ac­tu­ally go out to the com­mu­nity and go and meet up with these folks go­ing out for cof­fee to es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships, to de­velop our goals - and have our con­sumers defin­ing what their goals are, what their lim­i­ta­tions are, and us sup­port­ing the group,” ex­plained Mon­ica Paul, Team Lead of Swift Cur­rent’s Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team.

By op­er­at­ing with a team ap­proach, they will be bet­ter able to as­sist in deal­ing with the many sup­ports which a client could need.

Bryce Martin, Saskatchew­an Health Au­thor­ity Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Pri­mary Health Care, said the teams have an im­por­tant role in help­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers deal with their com­plex, per­sist­ing, chal­leng­ing men­tal health is­sues.

“These eight teams are an im­por­tant step in help­ing peo­ple re­ceive the care they need in the com­mu­nity, rather than hav­ing to rely on the acute care sys­tem such as hos­pi­tal emer­gency rooms and other care set­tings.”

“This type of pro­gram that we’re of­fi­cially launch­ing to­day will help to bring back some of the right provider, right ser­vice, right time for peo­ple who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health is­sues.”

This new spe­cial­ized mo­bile team also helps pro­vide a con­sis­tency of men­tal health care across the prov­ince.

“The fo­cus on team-based care, pa­tient man­age­ment, daily care plan­ning and a flex­i­ble scaleable ap­proach sets up the team and their pa­tients for the best chance of suc­cess,” Martin added.

Paul dis­cussed the im­por­tance of their ser­vice in help­ing pro­vide in­clu­sion, as well as re­duc­ing the stigma of Men­tal Health.

“When I talk about in­clu­sion I mean in­clu­sion to not only so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, re­cre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, but also em­ploy­ment and vo­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties as well,” she said.

The pro­gram will not change their in­take of new clients for a high de­mand ser­vice area which in­cludes Swift Cur­rent, Leader, Shau­navon, Maple Creek, and Gull Lake.

“In­take will con­tinue to I guess triage our clients and ser­vice match. So given the in­for­ma­tion that is pre­sented, and that’s as­sessed, then in­take will be able to ser­vice match that per­son with our ser­vice.”

“Ac­cord­ing to the statis­tics that came to me re­cently, in­take is see­ing about 3,000 re­quests for ser­vice a year. In light of that, and in light of the in­creased de­mand for more spe­cial­ized ser­vices, part of the mod­ern­iza­tion of men­tal health is that we had to start ser­vice match­ing. We have to start look­ing at a stepped care ap­proach in that de­pend­ing on the needs and the func­tion­ally of that per­son will de­ter­mine the type of ser­vice that they ought to re­quire. Maybe it’s a group ser­vice, but it may ac­tu­ally be a Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team ser­vice that per­son re­quires.”

Ul­ti­mately, the new ser­vice de­liv­ery model is aim­ing to im­pact the num­ber of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions for peo­ple in cri­sis.

“Part of the work of this team is ac­tu­ally to pre­vent hos­pi­tal­iza­tions. To get to peo­ple be­fore they have to go to the emer­gency room or to the hos­pi­tal. And some­times we can’t avoid that. Hos­pi­tal­iza­tions are go­ing to hap­pen, how­ever what our team can do is then, while our folks are on the unit, we can be es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships and goal set­ting and start dis­charge plan­ning as soon as they get there.”

Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley noted the new re­gional ini­ti­a­tion is part of a $4.2 mil­lion in­vest­ment to launch a prov­ince wide net­work.

“It’s per­haps one of the most dif­fi­cult chal­lenges, ad­dress­ing men­tal health,” Hind­ley said. “To have this ser­vice now avail­able in Swift Cur­rent, I think pro­vides some new op­por­tu­ni­ties, and hope­fully some bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­vide bet­ter care here in our com­mu­nity.”

Swift Cur­rent’s launch oc­curred on the same day as the of­fi­cial open­ing of the $407 mil­lion Saskatchew­an Hos­pi­tal North Bat­tle­ford, a 284 bed fa­cil­ity to de­liver men­tal health ser­vices to of­fend­ers liv­ing with men­tal health is­sues plus those re­ceiv­ing psy­chi­atric re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. The fa­cil­ity is the sin­gle largest in­vest­ment in men­tal health ser­vices in Saskatchew­an’s his­tory, and is part of the gov­ern­ment’s 10 year men­tal health plan.

“It’s just be­com­ing some­thing that’s more in­creas­ingly known and talked about in our com­mu­ni­ties, as it should be,” Hind­ley said of men­tal health is­sues.

He added that one of the aims of the re­cov­ery team will be to grow from a five-day-a-week struc­tured oper­a­tion into an around the clock ser­vice.

“To have this re­source avail­able in Swift Cur­rent is huge for our com­mu­nity, and it’s a great start­ing point I think to help ad­dress some of the chal­lenges we have here in our com­mu­nity.”

“This is some­thing that I think all of us MLAS hear about. I would say it’s an is­sue that’s more fre­quently talked about. Maybe it’s not more preva­lent, I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but it’s just some­thing that peo­ple are more will­ing to talk about.”


A seven-per­son Swift Cur­rent Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team was of­fi­cial launched on March 8 in or­der to pro­vide sup­ports for peo­ple liv­ing with men­tal health chal­lenges. Present at the of­fi­cial open­ing were (L to R): Patti Dekowny, Man­ager, Men­tal Health Pro­grams; Bryce Martin, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Pri­mary Health­care for the In­te­grated Health Port­fo­lio within the Saskatchew­an Health Au­thor­ity; Mon­ica Paul, Team Lead of the Com­mu­nity Re­cov­ery Team; Jen­nifer Hen­nig, Com­mu­nity Men­tal Health Nurse; Karla Rem­pel, Ad­dic­tions Coun­cil­lor; Crys­tal Corey, Oc­cu­pa­tional Therapist, and Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley.

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