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ACCESS: Reducing Wait Times 

Improving Access to Mental Health Services (3/3)   
Published on Connect Magazine, Fall 2010
 
Jennifer always has an open door; she is visited many times a day by people who think they may need some help. Her job is to help connect them to the type of supports and services they could benefit from such as Teachers on Wheels, or Community Living Supportive Services “Our service is not run on the ‘I am the expert, this is what you need’ mantra. I ask ‘what do you need’ and I do my best to help them,” she said.

Kim Baldwin says the outreach program is also trying to work within local schools to try to preempt any mental health and addictions issues with treatment or prevention options, and Early Intervention Outreach Workers have been hired to work with youth in Clarenville and Burin.

One support that was recently implemented to help children and youth is central intake, a single phone number for referral support that also assists families who are waiting for an appointment. Central intake processes well over 200 referrals a month.

June Kirkland-Smith, Clinical Practice Coordinator, says her job is to process referrals so that the patient has the shortest amount of time before they see someone.
 
“We sit down and interview the family or youth and ask them all of our questions and then answer any questions they might have. We find out what is really
needed. We also let the families know that we received the referral and it is being processed,” she says.

Accessing the right type of service in an appropriate amount of time is crucial. Eastern Health strives to give all of its patients access to the best care
in the shortest amount of time possible. ■
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Updated Jan 10, 2012