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ACCESS: Reducing Wait Times 

Improving Access to Mental Health Services   
Published on Connect Magazine, Fall 2010
 
Recovering from mental health or addiction issues begins with two major steps; knowing you need help, and finding the resources for that help. This is a focus for Eastern Health, and its happening through new hires, new programs, and new partnerships.

Mental Heatlh Services TeamKim Baldwin, Regional Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said some significant improvements have been made in three major areas: the development of a mobile crisis response team, an outreach program and a central intake system. “We’re reaching out to people where they need us,” she says.

David Kielly is the program manager of mental health emergency services. He says that often people experiencing a mental health crisis don’t have a history or formal diagnosis of mental illness, and don’t have to have a mental illness to require support. “We have a broad definition of crisis: if it is a crisis to you, it is a crisis to us.”

One of the major advances in mental health emergency services is the creation of the mobile crisis response team - a nurse, a nurse practitioner, two social workers and an addictions counselor - who are dispatched into the community in the St. John’s region to help someone who is experiencing a crisis.

The key access point to the mobile crisis team is the province-wide mental health crisis phone line that David’s program offers. If someone asks to be visited by the mobile response unit, they will come.
 
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Updated Jan 10, 2012