Partnering with the Community to Enhance Access to Nipissing’s Mental Health and Addictions System

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The Provincial System Support Program at CAMH is partnering with the Nipissing Service Collaborative in northeastern Ontario to tap into local expertise with the aim of improving coordination and collaboration among local providers. Once implemented, solutions will greatly improve the overall client experience in communities in and around North Bay by better connecting clients to the services and supports they need related mental health and/or addictions, as well as employment, housing, and other supports. 

A Community-Based Solution

Beginning with a “Design Day” session in early 2017, a diverse group of community stakeholders has been brainstorming and formulating creative solutions based on different forms of evidence gathered from consultations and discussions with clients and service providers. 

Learn more about the Design Day process

The Service Collaborative Implementation team (SCIT) working group made up of service providers, persons with lived experience, and agency leadership from various sectors  (including peer support, hospital- and community-based mental health and addictions, housing, social services, and services for francophone and Indigenous populations) is using the insights gained from these engagements and is putting them into action.

“There is such a diversity of opinions that are discussed in a respectful and productive way,” said Sandra Watson, Regional Implementation Coordinator. “The group blows me away!”

Common themes that emerged from consultations included a shared desire for:

  • improved use of a person-centered approach;
  • increased use of common language among multi-sectoral providers;
  • increased accountability between agencies with respect to clients’ service needs; and better promotion of health equity across diverse groups.

About the Nipissing Service Navigation Guide (SNG)

That resulting solution is the Nipissing Service Navigation Guide (SNG) – a navigation process designed to assist service providers to better connect clients with the most appropriate supports and services.

The SNG uses three steps: 

  1. engaging clients to better understand their needs; 
  2. matching clients with the right service using the SNG mini-site; and 
  3. providing clients with the information they need to connect to services and/or assisting with referrals.

The guide will be complemented by an interactive, user-friendly website that gives providers another tool to support matching their client’s needs to the most appropriate service or support.  

Alan McQuarrie, co-chair of the Nipissing Service Collaborative stated that, “…hearing from the community, and especially from our clients, is so important to help develop tools that will achieve positive outcomes.”

Next Steps

The SCIT team is currently finalizing the SNG design and implementation process.

Initial implementation commences in May 2018. 


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