November 28, 2013

Dear Northerners,

I can’t believe one year has passed since we opened the new Sudbury community Crisis Intervention Services on Cedar Street!

Last year I stood with Police Chief Frank Elsner, Dr. Rayudu Koka, a psychiatrist with Health Sciences North, Jean Hanson, a board member of the CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin, and consumer Arvind Jagessar. We all took a deep breath and smiled--it was the start of something new, but would it work?

“This seems like a great step, a step in the right direction,” said Arvind, who has suffered from depression.November Blog

This new model for community crisis care would be run by both the hospital and the CMHA, in partnership with the police, who had committed their staff to new training on how to respond to crisis calls so that fewer apprehensions and more “good catches” would be made.

There was a lot of excitement both here in the North East as well as across the country.  Besides local media, CBC’s The World this Weekend picked the story up and video clips of the event ran on the Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun’s websites. It made sense. All these partners working together to bring services to where people need them most – in community.

With this new model, youth and adults in crisis could walk into the quiet office at 127 Cedar Street (now open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.) or a crisis mobile unit could visit them.  Or they could just pick up the phone and call the crisis hotline (705-675-4760). 

Patient focused care made sense.  But would it work?  … Could we change the long standing behaviour of people? 
With our one year anniversary just passed, I’m happy to say the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Mental Health visits to HSN’s emergency department are down by 18 per cent. That means 131 fewer people with mental health issues came to emerg over those months.
  • Use of the mobile crisis unit is up by 39% – that means it has helped 231 more people where they live, work or go to school.
  • Visits and calls to Crisis Intervention are up by 62% so this year 1,071 more people have accessed crisis help.
  • Apprehensions by Greater Sudbury police under the Mental Health Act have been reduced by 21%  thanks to new training which means 101 fewer people have been apprehended.
  • Their rate of  “good catches” – cases reviewed after the fact by the hospital to see if they could have been diverted to Cedar Street—has hit 100% for the past three months.
  • Did I mention that 296 staff with the Greater Sudbury Police Service have received this new mental health training delivered by CMHA and HSN?
  • With this new system, officers are also spending less time waiting in the ED with patients, so more time delivered to front-line policing.
  • Happy Anniversary!  And stay tuned for exciting news on this and other innovative projects being rolled out across our vast Northeastern Ontario home.