Let’s celebrate the successes of the team of the Mental Health and Addiction Program

Centre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnell
Centre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnell

This team is responsible for developing the service offer, as well as planning, organizing, controlling and evaluating all mental health, addiction and psychiatric services. This includes hospital and clinical services, university and college teaching support, and research activities.

The team, which has been very active in our CIUSSS, has enjoyed several successes in recent months.

Mindstrong: benefiting mental health services

Over the past four years, the Mindstrong event has raised approximately $4.5 million, with an additional $2.6 million in 2019. These funds will be donated to various mental health projects, as well as construction of the new Psychiatric In-Patient Unit at the Jewish General Hospital.

Thanks to funds raised by Staff Stigma fighters, the Stigma Zero program was launched and wellness activities were made available to staff, with more initiatives planned to roll out soon. The participation of our colleagues in this fun, and important event, also allowed for the creation of a Mental Health and Wellness fund, which will further fuel mental-health and wellness activities for staff.

Please consider joining or supporting the team next year.

Distribution of “You’re important to me” pins

As part of Suicide Prevention Week, held each February, managers from the Mental Health and Addiction Program and our CIUSSS’s local suicide prevention committee distributed pins to employees from the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS), with the message “You are important to me”.

Online course for suicide prevention

To properly recognize the warning signs of suicide and become familiar with best practices in suicide prevention, bilingual online training is now available throughout the CIUSSS. A tool has been developed to help staff respond professionally, resourcefully and confidently to help identify at-risk users and keep them safe.

Peer support

Peer support contributes to a patient’s recovery through a special bond that is created between two people with a common past or similar experiences. By sharing them, the peer support worker offers hope to the user, while making colleagues aware of the suffering that results from a mental health problem. 

A Family Peer Support Worker from AMI-Quebec is present in all areas served by the Psychiatry Department. She provides support services for patients’ caregivers, including family members and loved ones. After being introduced to the program and obtaining consent to participate, the caregiver and members of the treatment team (psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, etc.) complete a short, prescription-pad-sized form that contains the caregiver’s contact information. The Peer Support Worker then contacts the caregiver, usually by telephone.

Our CIUSSS is also one of the few to have hired peer support workers in permanent positions (educators) as participants in Assertive Community Treatment (SIM) teams. These individuals are living or have lived with a mental disorder and have an interest in accompanying patients and sharing experiences with them.

Partnership between PRISM and Welcome Hall Mission

CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal have expanded the Programme de réaffiliation en itinérance et santé mentale (PRISM), based at the Welcome Hall Mission. Its objective is to provide sustainable access to mental health care for homeless individuals who suffer from serious mental illness. Access to a team of professionals from our CIUSSS is made possible through a $300,000 donation from Bell Let’s Talk.

SIM-SIV-PRISM Access Committee

To improve access to specific services in our area, a committee was formed in April 2018 to bring together stakeholders from Assertive Community Treatment Services (SIM), Intensive Case Management (SIV) and PRISM. The joint efforts of approximately ten stakeholders have helped to reduce hospitalization and emergency room visits. This is the first such integrated committee, bringing together our CIUSSS, the MUHC and St. Mary’s Hospital, which meet weekly to coordinate services. 

Creation of this committee, immediately supported by all of its stakeholders, made it possible to develop greater fluidity in patient referrals and to ensure that the waiting list is shared among services. In addition, hospitals ensure that patients are referred at the beginning of hospitalization, rather than at the end. 

Improved access to GASMA

Since fall 2018, the waiting list in the Guichet d’accès en santé mentale et dépendance adulte (GAMSA) has dropped from over 300 requests to fewer than 20. Hiring an administrative agent has made it possible to schedule appointments with clients, rather than having this arranged by clinicians. People who register with GAMSA are now assessed more quickly and are directed to the proper service right from the start. 

Joint project at Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre

The Mental Health and Addiction Program team, in collaboration with Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare Centre has developed a project, in which eight beds are now reserved for patients with a psychiatric diagnosis. Dr. Carmella Roy is the consulting psychiatrist mandated to support the teams at this long-term care centre. 

New in the Department of Psychiatry: Patient Consultation

As part of the renovation project for the Psychiatric Unit on the third floor of Pavilion B at the Jewish General Hospital, a consultation process has been initiated with patients. Inpatients and out-patients have been able to provide feedback about the colours and wall decorations in the new unit.

Opening of the Day Hospital

On January 21, 2019, the Elspeth McConnell Centre Mental Health and Wellness Centre began offering an Adult Psychiatry Day Treatment Program. Its goal is to help patients resolve their immediate crisis, regain function and reintegrate into the community with the assistance of a dedicated multidisciplinary team. After 17 weeks of activity, 10 patients are using this program, and other patients are being accepted on an ongoing basis. 

The Centre also launched a Trauma-Focused Therapy Program on March 22. Through group and individual therapy, this specialized psychotherapy program aims to overcome the impact of childhood and adult trauma. About 17 patients are currently in these two therapy groups.

Centre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnellCentre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnellCentre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnellCentre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnell

Centre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnellCentre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnellCentre de santé mentale et de bien-être Elspeth McConnell

Volunteers in Partnership (VIP)

The Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) program, new at the Jewish General Hospital, is designed to be adapted and personalized to the needs of mental health clients, who are valuable collaborators. This program aims to create a strong partnership among clinicians and patients. 

Volunteers are available to help anyone who receives or has received mental health services in our CIUSSS. This made it possible to open the Resource and Information Centre in the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry last fall.