In celebration of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and community partners announced the launch of the Mental Health Resource Directory for youth in South Georgian Bay.
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada.
Over the past six months a small group of medical students, university students and physicians from the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and local communities, created a directory of services that has the potential to improve mental health care for youth in the area.
The Directory outlines local mental health resources for young people in the South Georgian Bay area and will be available at municipal offices, schools, doctors' offices, in the hospital and online by October 6. Additionally, it will also help professionals such as doctors, teachers, police officers and other public servants to be better equipped to direct youth towards the help they need.
The Mental Health Resource Directory was established through the generous donation of the Henry J and Marilyn Knowles Family of Collingwood, Ontario. This CGMH Foundation program enhances research opportunities and initiatives for students at CGMH and the Rural Ontario Medical Program.
"I am pleased that through this mental health resource initiative, primary care physicians will be able to source support and resources for youth seeking help," Marilyn Knowles, donor.
Dr. Michael Lisi, Chief of Staff at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital emphasizes the importance of this initiative, "The Interprofessional Health and Research Day 2017's focus on Youth Mental Health brings a much anticipated new resource tool to the local community. Healthcare providers and community members now have an easily accessible list of services, which can aid and support those in need. This valued resource now exists, thanks to the efforts of our community organizations, the Rural Ontario Medical Program, CGMH and our Collingwood Hospital Foundation donors."
Research conducted on the project indicated that 89% of those who reviewed the directory felt that it greatly improved their understanding of local youth mental health resources and of the physicians who were polled, 100% indicated the community would benefit from the creation of this directory.
"I'm really happy to see youth Mental Health Services more widely shared with healthcare providers in our area. It was so interesting to see research show that this tool can make a difference in creating awareness of service provision. Our team of physicians and research students identified these local resources for youth mental health and they are now all listed in one place for anyone to find easily, whenever needed." Kevin Schreiber, Medical Student, Rural Ontario Medical Program and CGMH Research Student.
This information and document has already been used to update government and non-government mental health resource online databases. The Mental Health Resource Directory will also be made available within the Electronic Medical Record for physicians to consult - giving doctors a tool to efficiently refer their young patients to valuable services. If you have information to share, the ongoing updates and information will be completed by Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. This information will assist in providing care to youth in our area for many years to come.