Local mental health approach shared globally
Sarnia-Lambton’s approach to mental health and addictions care is being shared at a global health conference in Western Europe Wednesday.
Paula Reaume-Zimmer, the integrated vice president of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association Lambton Kent [CMHA], has been invited to speak at the World interRAI Conference in Leuven, Belgium.
She said she’ll be talking about what’s being done locally to provide a seamless, comprehensive assessment system for vulnerable people.
“We know that the patients who seek service, they come in and out of so many points of care, mental health and addiction, community and hospital and none of them follow a straight path,” said Reaume-Zimmer. “How it was set up, there was a tool for an inpatient assessment, there’s a tool for an emergency department assessment and then in community mental health a different one and a very distinctly different one for addiction.”
She said when patients overlap those services, they don’t want to repeat their stories each time.
“They want more face time and less documenting, less assessment and that’s really our objective here.”
During its first three months, Reaume-Zimmer said the Mental Health Engagement and Response Team [MHEART] has responded to 256 mental health-related calls and determined that only 16 individuals required an emergency department visit.
Mobile rapid response teams work with Sarnia police and Lambton OPP to help those in crisis, de-escalate the situation and connect people with the appropriate services.
“31 per cent of the people who a CMHA RN has brought in were seen immediately and 61 per cent were seen within two hours,” she said.