Health Care Column by Dr. Paul Preston, VP Clinical, North East Local Health Integration Network (North East LHIN)
If you find yourself dealing with a mental health or addiction concern, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to turn for help. Fortunately, Sault Ste. Marie has many resources that can be accessed to assist with mental health and addiction issues and most are available free-of-charge and do not require a referral.
A good place to start can be an appointment with your family doctor or nurse practitioner. If you do not have one, other options include: walk-in clinics or, in an urgent situation, the hospital emergency room.
Here are five ways that you can get timely access to help:
1. Feeling low, depressed or anxious and want to learn new skills to manage? The North East LHIN is supporting two new, free self-help psychotherapy services: BounceBack, a telephone-coaching program with workbooks and videos and Big White Wall, an online peer support and selfmanagement tool. Both programs, funded by the Government of Ontario for its residents, are designed to help adults and youth with depression and anxiety. These two services provide skillbuilding and cognitive behaviour therapy. For more information on BounceBack, go to bouncebackontario.ca/ or call 1-866-345-0224. For more information on Big White Wall, go to bigwhitewall.ca/.
2. Are you struggling with opioid or alcohol addictions? The Sault Ste. Marie Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic, based in the Algoma Treatment Centre at 123 East Street in Sault Ste. Marie and operated by staff from the Sault Area Hospital, is now taking clients. You can visit the clinic – no appointment or referral needed—to be quickly connected with opioid or alcohol addiction medicine and other addiction treatment services in the community. Call 705-759-3434 Ext. 7200 for the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine clinic hours, or to request an appointment.
3. Do you have a situation that you need to talk about with a counsellor? There is a Walk-in Counselling Service available at the Canadian Mental Health Association of Sault Ste. Marie at 386 Queen Street, Sault Ste. Marie, that is open on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. There is no charge or appointment required.
Some of the topics discussed include: couple and family relationships, domestic violence, sexual assault, alcohol or substance abuse regarding themselves or significant others, financial or debt challenges. The walk-in counselling service is delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Sault Ste. Marie (705-759-0458) in partnership with Algoma Family Services, Algoma Public Health, the John Howard Society and Sault Area Hospital.
4. Interested in exploring what mental health or addiction services in Sault Ste. Marie might fit your needs? Help is only a phone call away. The Central Access and Information service is operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Sault Ste. Marie with support from mental health and addiction providers.
Available by telephone or walk-in, the service provides a welcoming environment where people are assisted with information on what mental health and addiction services are available across the Algoma district. Information on mental health, mental illness and
addiction is available through the service along with help in getting linked to the right local supports. Contact Central Access and Information by calling 705-759-5989 or 1-855-366-1466.
5. Feeling isolated and want someone to talk with and/ or connect with peers for support? The North East Regional WARM Line offers peer support, self-help groups, social, educational and recreational activities to individuals with mental health and addiction issues. Peer counsellors are ready to take your call daily between 6 p.m. and midnight at 1-866-856-9276.
Local organizations are working together to connect providers and enhance the system of care. The most critical message is to reach out if you need help, because there are services and care available in Sault Ste. Marie.