What is Tele-Mental Health?
Since launching the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy in 2011, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services continues to strengthen mental health services for children and youth. The Tele-Mental Health Service offers improved access to specialized mental health consults for children and youth in rural, remote and under-served communities using videoconferencing. This includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit, urban Aboriginal, and francophone children, youth and their families.
Videoconferencing helps to connect children and youth, who are already receiving mental health services, to a specialist who can address their issues. Services are culturally safe, and offered as close to home as possible.
How it Works
Six identified Coordination Agencies are responsible for referrals in all communities. All publicly funded child and youth mental health community service providers working with children and youth in designated rural, remote and underserved areas can make referrals directly to Coordination Agencies. The three “hubs” that provide specialized child and youth mental health services – The Hospital for Sick Children; Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario; and Child and Parent Resource Institute – no longer accept referrals directly from any source other than the Coordination Agencies.
SOAHAC as a Coordination Agency
The Southwestern Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) has been selected as one of six Tele-Mental Health Service coordination agencies. We facilitate access to Tele-Mental Health for community service providers/agencies in our service area (see below). All publically-funded mental health professionals, and others working with Indigenous youth, are able to refer young people to the Tele-Mental Health Coordinator at SOAHAC.
Referring service providers can print and use this Tele-Mental Health Referral Package March 2017 (PDF). (Also available in electronic format in English and French at http://www.sickkids.ca/tele-link/Referral-Forms/referral-forms.html)
In order to ensure the appropriate provision of consultation and support services for the client, SOAHAC’s Tele-Mental Health Coordinator:
- Conducts a ‘Service Readiness Review’ for every referred child/youth with the referring agency;
Works in partnership (where appropriate) with the community service provider to review alternate local mental health supports, determine that the service will meet the needs of the child/youth, and that it is the most effective service;
- Schedules consultations between community service providers on behalf of the client and appropriate Hub;
- Follows up with the community service provider to ensure ongoing Case Management and to review consultation and determine if further consultation is required;
- Provides education and training to designated sites and satellites and the community about the program;
- Participates in committees composed of Tele-Mental Health Coordination Agencies and Hubs to work collaboratively across the Service areas.
Our service area is called “Area 4” and covers the existing SOAHAC catchment area (London, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation – Muncey, Windsor and Owen Sound), as well as additional territory as far north as Nippissing First Nation and southeast to Tyendinaga.