What is the system challenge?

The Nipissing Service Collaborative identified a need to greatly improve the experience of individuals as they navigate through the often confusing mental health and addictions care system in Northeastern Ontario. The goal is to efficiently connect people seeking mental health, addictions, and/or development disability services with the right services or supports through improved coordination and collaboration among all providers, and across sectors (including employment and housing).

What are we doing about it?

With support from the PSSP Northeast Region team, the Nipissing Service Collaborative partnered with community stakeholders to co-create the Nipissing Service Navigation Guide (SNG) – a navigation process for service providers that focuses specifically on the services and supports available in the District of Nipissing.

The SNG complements and enhances existing practices and processes related to navigation and referrals, and it can be used by different providers across multiple sectors in Nipissing.

To ensure the success of the SNG, the Service Collaborative tapped into local service provider expertise, and listened to the lived experiences of system clients and their family members when developing the SNG. It is intended to be inclusive of diverse services and populations in Nipissing, and takes a system-wide approach that includes multiple agencies and sectors. It uses a person-centered approach that focuses on all of a person’s needs; it helps them to prioritize these needs and to quickly provide them with information about local service options or supports.

Some of the anticipated benefits of the SNG for people seeking services:

  • Individuals will better connect to mental health, addictions, and/or developmental disability services and supports that can provide relief to challenges they face.
  • The SNG will support individuals to feel welcomed and respected when seeking services, and to feel reassured that they will be able to find a service to support them.

Some of the anticipated benefits of the SNG for system planners and service providers:

  • Enhanced collaboration across services, supports, organizations, and sectors leading to a reduction in duplication of efforts;
  • Improved collection and sharing of data related to navigation and referral process leading to a better understanding of system needs and gaps in services and supports in Nipissing.
  • Enhanced understanding of services and supports available for diverse groups and populations (including Indigenous peoples, individuals with identify as LGBTQ+ and Francophones); and

The SNG uses three steps: 

  1. engagingindividiuals to better understand their needs; 
  2. matching individuals  with the right service or support; and 
  3. provide individuals with the information they need to connect to services and/or assist with referrals.

An interactive, user-friendly website will be used by providers as a tool to support service matching and referral. 

?What's this?

Initial Implementation

In May 2018, 4-6 agencies in Nipissing will begin using the SNG. They will identify needed improvements to the SNG and determine if the SNG is making the desired impact. This process will last for approximately six months and information about implementation will be shared with community partners on a regular basis. 

How do we know it works?

The SNG was developed primarily based on the expertise of service providers and the lived experience of system clients and family members. It is focused specifically on the services and supports available in the District of Nipissing. Evaluation will take place throughout the implementation phase to support ongoing improvement of the SNG and to identify early outcomes.

…hearing from the community, and especially from our clients, is so important to help develop tools that will achieve positive outcomes.

— Alan McQuarrie, co-chair of the Nipissing Service Collaborative

My hope is that the SNG makes it easier for anyone already seeking services to see everything available to assist in their recovery; it also makes it easier for anyone ashamed to see a community worker to see what is available to them and gradually reach out for help.

— Moira – Service Collaborative Implementation Team/Person with lived experience

Who is involved?

A total of 34 agencies from 16 sectors are represented within the current Service Collaborative membership, including:

  • corrections
  • developmental disabilities
  • family services
  • peer support services
  • education and employment
  • housing and homelessness
  • culturally-based services
  • violence against women
  • justice
  • persons with lived experience
  • family services
  • funders
  • hospital
  • military/veteran services
  • community mental health and addictions.

Next Steps

Both the Service Collaborative Implementation team (SCIT) and the Service Collaborative are meeting regularly to develop and discuss implementation of the SNG.

To learn more about the SNG design process, read Partnering with the Community to Enhance Access to Nipissing’s Mental Health and Addictions System.

For more information, please contact:

Sandra Watson

Alan McQuarrie, Co-chair, Nipissing Service Collaborative