In celebration of World Mental Health Day (October 10th), Sault Area Hospital Foundation is thrilled to be expanding the ways that youth can connect to local mental health and addictions supports. Thanks to a $28,500 grant from RBC Foundation, Sault Area Hospital will be able to invest in technology that will allow for more care to be delivered virtually.
With cases of COVID-19 surging in Ontario, having to visit a hospital can be a major stressor for those experiencing a mental health crisis. The virtual care project for SAH’s Mental Health and Addictions program aims to put more technology in the hands of crisis service workers. Crisis services can then bring care to the patient in the community rather than having to bring the patient to the hospital. The technology will also help patients who are admitted for mental health support to remain connected to the people in their life outside the hospital while visitor restrictions are still in place.
“Our goal is to bring specialized mental health and addictions care closer to home. This equipment will reduce the barriers in accessing specialized care, and is intended to reduce the number of unnecessary trips to the emergency department for assessment,” said Lisa Case, Clinical Director, Mental Health and Addictions, Sault Area Hospital. “There may always be people who require inpatient care – but if we can make a “house call” by delivering specialized care virtually, it has the potential to be a more convenient and patient-centered experience.”
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, this support couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Teresa Martone, Executive Director, Sault Area Hospital Foundation. “RBC’s commitment to breaking down barriers and making youth mental health services more accessible was a perfect fit for this project. We needed to adapt these services, and RBC’s support is making it possible.”
“When we learned about Sault Area Hospital’s plan to expand into virtual mental health and addictions counselling, we knew it was something we need to support especially as more youth may find themselves struggling in these times,” says Scott Simon, RBC Regional Vice President, Northern Lakes. “Reaching young people virtually to provide this essential service makes sense given the level of comfort they have with digital channels, and may also help mitigate any stigma they may feel associated to accessing care for their addictions and mental health concerns.”
On behalf of the Sault Area Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, Executive Director and Staff, we would like to thank RBC Foundation for the generous contribution to local mental health and addiction services in our community.