One-stop clinic for mental health show­ing its value

Dou­bled in size, the down­town cen­tre helped 1,600 peo­ple over last two years

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - SHARON HILL [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/win­starhill

The one-stop-shop ap­proach of down­town Wind­sor’s Cri­sis and Mental Well­ness Cen­tre is prov­ing a suc­cess.

“We’ve al­ready seen a dif­fer­ence,” Dawn Nassr, an in­take worker with the Cana­dian Mental Health As­so­ci­a­tion’s lo­cal branch, said Fri­day at an open house for the cen­tre.

“We’ve seen a dif­fer­ence, in terms of emer­gency room vis­its for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple have de­creased be­cause they can now come here and get mental health sup­port in­stead of go­ing to the hos­pi­tal.”

About 1,600 peo­ple have been helped in the last two years as the cen­tre dou­bled in size and added more ser­vices in what used to be called the Tran­si­tional Sta­bil­ity Cen­tre.

The ex­panded Ho­tel-Dieu Grace Health­care Cri­sis and Mental Well­ness Cen­tre at 744 Ouel­lette Ave. is a walk-in ser­vice for peo­ple who are 16 or older and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mental health is­sues. In Jan­uary, Ho­tel-Dieu Grace Health­care be­gan part­ner­ing with the Cana­dian Mental Health As­so­ci­a­tion at the cen­tre. A gen­eral psy­chi­atric clinic was moved there from Wind­sor Re­gional Hos­pi­tal, an in­jec­tion clinic for peo­ple on long-term med­i­ca­tion was added, and the CMHA lo­cated its ear­ly­in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams there. The cen­tre of­fers psy­chi­atric as­sess­ments and con­sul­ta­tions for in­di­vid­u­als, group ther­apy ses­sions, re­fer­rals and sup­port while peo­ple wait to get into the right ser­vice or pro­gram for them. Nassr said peo­ple who are de­pressed may not have the mo­ti­va­tion to fol­low through, so work­ers stay in­volved and call the per­son ev­ery few weeks to see how they are do­ing and make sure they get con­nected to the ser­vices they need. “This pre­vents peo­ple from hav­ing to go all over the city to get what they need,” Nassr said. “They can come to one place and get ev­ery­thing.”

Nassr said she thought peo­ple wouldn’t want to be con­tacted, but it has turned out to be a very valu­able ser­vice. “Some peo­ple would say, ‘This is like hav­ing a fam­ily mem­ber look out for me.’” Rob Moroz, the in­te­grated di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity mental health, said it’s a unique spot that of­fers an al­ter­na­tive to the ER and is built around what the per­son needs, not what the health sys­tem al­ready has in place. Peo­ple don’t have to fig­ure out who to call and they can re­turn as many times as they like, he said. “The idea is you don’t need to ap­ply or qual­ify — just show up,” Moroz said.

Peo­ple from all walks of life come to the cen­tre. Moroz said the big­gest mis­con­cep­tion is that the peo­ple com­ing are dan­ger­ous. He said peo­ple with mental ill­ness are of­ten vic­tims of vi­o­lence and not violent them­selves. Al­though home­less peo­ple do come to the cen­tre, the ser­vice is not just for them, he said. You can be re­ferred by a doc­tor or just drop in. The Com­mu­nity Cri­sis Cen­tre on Ouel­lette Av­enue has a cri­sis hot­line and de­fines a cri­sis as thoughts of sui­cide or self­harm, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, problems with drugs, al­co­hol and gam­bling, symp­toms of mental ill­ness such as hear­ing voices, and se­vere dis­tress re­lated to grief, ill­ness, job loss and re­la­tion­ship is­sues. NEED HELP?

The 24/7 cri­sis hot­line is 519973-4435.

The walk-in ser­vices at 744 Ouel­lette Ave. are avail­able seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cri­sis work­ers are also in the ER at the Wind­sor Re­gional Hos­pi­tal’s Ouel­lette cam­pus from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, for peo­ple who are in dan­ger of hurt­ing them­selves.

DAX MELMER

Pa­tri­cia Thomas leads a tour of Ho­tel-Dieu Grace Health­care’s new Cri­sis and Mental Well­ness Cen­tre in down­town Wind­sor on Fri­day.

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