Neighbouring cities join mental health services

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The Mental Health services and associations that provide outreach and programs to community members in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph have joined in order to better serve and aid the community.

The Waterloo Wellington Dufferin Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been fused together from neighbouring partners, the Canadian Mental Health Association Grand River Branch and the Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services.

“This is the bridging of a natural partnership that has been under way for a number of years,” said Don Ross, the executive director at the Canadian Mental Health Association Grand River Branch.

The two organizations share similar philosophies and an overarching goal of raising awareness of mental health issues and ensuring that community members get the support they need.

“If we put the two of them together, there is a strong continuum of care for people to be able to get what they need,” expressed Helen Fishburn, the director of programs at Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services.

The Canadian Mental Health Association offers a more preventive, promotional and supportive care to the community, whereas Trellis offers more of the treatment end of things, fosters specialized services, including medical care and nursing. While the Grand River Branch specializes in primarily adulthood care, Trellis serves from “cradle to grave,” including infants, children, youth, adults and seniors. Although the organizations serve a different audience, they both focus on the theme of mental health, which brings them together for a common purpose.

“We are looking at the goal of providing an integrated healthcare experience for people, and we can deliver more and effective service at the right time and in the right place for people,” Ross explained.

The two organizations already head a co-location in Orangeville. While this location is much smaller than the one that will be located in Wellington and into Dufferin, the aim is to mirror the success of this institution, and similarly provide service and awareness to the community.

“We will create a new mission statement, new strategic goals,” Fishburn expressed. “If you look at them together, they are really quite similar, so it’s really about coming together and creating a new corporate entity for the new organization, but it will have a very similar mission and vision.”

Both organizations are public, and are funded by a number of different ministries.

While the Mental Health Association Grand River Branch has less government funding because of its primary focus on adulthood service, and the Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services has funding from numerous ministries, the government will fund the new association.

“We are not private, we are public,” Fishburn explained.

“We are basically going to be continuing along the same path that we are on with the services that we are delivering, but we have some common similarities,” Ross further explained.

The overarching aim of this association, that will be effective as of April 1, 2013, is to provide the community with a better, one-stop experience to ensure that they receive the right support and outreach services and programs available to them.

Both organizations advocate mental health awareness, are passionate about this integration and are confident that this association will benefit the community.

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