Originally published in the October 2018 edition of the Walleye: Thunder Bay’s Arts & Culture Magazine
The stigma surrounding mental health is beginning to dissolve thanks to many great resources, organizations, and advocates in our community. Providing mental health support is especially important in Northwestern Ontario, as our region sees a higher rate of mental health issues compared to the rest of the province. In fact, the Emergency Department (ED) at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is one of the busiest in the province, with 6,320 visits related to mental health and additions reported in 2017. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Darcy Price, Interim Director of Adult Mental Health and Forensics at our Hospital, provided updates on a new initiative underway to address mental health needs of all patients.
“Mental health has been a priority in our Hospital’s Strategic Plan since 2012,” stated Price. “Because the work in this area is so diverse and specific, mental health continues to be a priority into 2020. Many steering committees, working groups, and specialized teams are collaborating to be able to meet the mental health needs of our patients and also to support our staff.”
Price explained that a new, successful initiative has already been implemented. “Our Hospital has developed an Interprofessional Consultation Liaison Team, comprised of mental health nurses, psychiatrists and resident physicians. The team assesses the mental health needs of identified patients and works together with the treating team to determine a plan to provide the best support and care. Recommendations could include transferring the patient to the mental health inpatient unit, ongoing visits from the interprofessional Consultation Liaison team, or providing medication and treatment options,” explained Price. This would also include recommendations for community follow up on discharge.
The Interprofessional Consultation Liaison Team initially was piloted for three months on two inpatient units, however with the success of the pilot and positive feedback from staff and patients, the team’s services have now expanded to support all inpatient units across our Hospital.
For the full list of hospital and community services for mental health, visit http://www.tbrhsc.net/programs-services/mental-health-program/