New youth mental health service receives funding

By Vicki Gough, Chatham Daily News
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 5:15:52 EST PM

Having one location where local youth can access mental health services took a major step forward Tuesday.

The board of directors of the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) approved funding the Access Canada Youth Space project in the amounts of $77,500 for the current fiscal year and $310,000 in base funding for 2015-2016.

Board members heard the project will be modelled after Headspace, a youth mental health service which operates in Australia.

"It's a model that's being created with very strong federal dollars committed to creating 90 sites across Australia in 2015," Paula Reaume-Zimmer, integrated program director at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the Canadian Mental Health Association of Lambton Kent, told The Chatham Daily News Tuesday.

Reaume-Zimmer said an area site, yet to be decided, will offer an array of services to expand the Early Intervention First Episode Psychosis program for youth aged 11 to 25.

"It's a very strong focus on creating a youth-centred space," Reaume-Zimmer said.

A place "so families don't have to go door-to-door to put a co-ordinated plan together when their young adult needs help ... so their improvement, or recovery is more likely to happen," she added.

Youth will be invited to contribute their voice to a working group which will also look at offering recreation and skills training "in a casual way" that will be inviting to youth and young adults.

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The third and final phase of a new electronic records system used when patients are discharged from hospitals in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton and Windsor-Essex was approved for $388,000 one-time funding.

"It lines them up with the appropriate care, so if you're discharged from the hospital and you need physio therapy and maybe Meals-on-Wheels, that comes through automatically now generated electronically," Switzer said.

The system gives the community care access centre and the client more relevant information to provide the service sooner, he added.


The Erie St. Clair LHIN also approved a motion to designate special funding of $94,000 annually to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

The money will cover the cost of treating an acquired brain injury patient, now in a Hamilton area hospital, closer to home.

"I look at it as a budget issue to be dealt with by the province," LHIN director Robert Bailey said.

Bailey said repatriating patients with high care needs closer to home needs a "global solution."

"We're hoping to move them (the patient) into the community this year, with the same level of care and attention, but at a lower cost," LHIN chief executive officer Gary Switzer told The Daily News.