Point­ing the way to hope, re­cov­ery

Monthly open houses planned to help peo­ple nav­i­gate men­tal-health and ad­dic­tions re­sources in Sar­nia-Lambton

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - TYLER KULA [email protected]­media.com

Lo­cal health-care agen­cies are team­ing up to of­fer one-stop monthly open houses on ad­dic­tion and men­tal-health re­sources in Sar­nia-Lambton.

“What we’re hear­ing is that peo­ple are slowly be­com­ing aware of dif­fer­ent ser­vices,” but many still don’t know where to turn, said Cyn­thia McCole­man, health pro­moter with Rapids Fam­ily Health Team.

Pro­grams and ser­vices are of­ten up­dat­ing, dis­con­tin­u­ing and start­ing new, she said.

The in­tent is, with part­ner agency Blue­wa­ter Health, to give peo­ple up-to-date in­for­ma­tion at the open houses, ev­ery third Wed­nes­day of the month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where peo­ple can drop in, ask ques­tions, and learn about what the com­mu­nity has to of­fer.

Free re­fresh­ments and nalox­one kits will also be avail­able. The life­sav­ing drug is used to help tem­po­rar­ily re­verse opi­oid over­doses.

More than 400 peo­ple at­tended a sim­i­lar drop-in event in Septem­ber to learn about where and how they can seek help for them­selves and oth­ers for men­tal-health is­sues and ad­dic­tion, said Lynn Lai­dler, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Rapids Fam­ily Health Team.

Sur­veys from the event said peo­ple wanted more of the same, so that’s what they’re do­ing, she said.

“They can come in and talk to any­one, tell their story, find out re­sources, say ‘Hey, I just don’t know what to do or where to go,’ and let us help you,” she said.

The three-month pi­lot could grow into more hours or days, de­pend­ing on the de­mand, McCole­man said.

It was im­por­tant to start in De­cem­ber, Lai­dler added.

“The hol­i­days can be very dif­fi­cult.”

Hav­ing the open houses in the mid­dle of the day, McCole­man said, should mean peo­ple can more eas­ily slip by the in­nocu­ous look­ing Rapids Fam­ily Health Team and North Lambton Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre build­ing at 460 Christina St. N. – use the en­trance off Max­well.

Evening hours could be added based on de­mand, she said.

The space isn’t big enough to host all the agen­cies in Sar­nia-Lambton, so they’ll be ro­tated in, she said, not­ing a reg­is­tered so­cial worker and an em­ployee from Blue­wa­ter Health’s ad­dic­tion pro­gram will be at each open house.

The com­mu­nity still needs more ser­vices, but know­ing how to ac­cess the ones that al­ready ex­ist can make a big dif­fer­ence, Lai­dler said.

“I think this is a good start.”

TYLER KULA/SAR­NIA OB­SERVER

Lynn Lai­dler, left, and Cyn­thia McCole­man with Rapids Fam­ily Health Team are, with Blue­wa­ter Health, host­ing monthly open houses in Sar­nia with in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal men­tal-health and ad­dic­tions re­sources. The first is Dec. 19.

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