New GBHS program opens to help patients in Mental Health crisis

Grey Bruce Health Services has opened a new program to assist patients facing a mental health crisis who arrive in the Emergency Department at the Owen Sound Hospital.

The Emergency Department environment can be an overwhelming and stressful place for someone who is in crisis. GBHS has opened a new room, adjacent to the ED, that offers a safe, calm and quieter environment, where patients can get focused counseling sessions; group sessions (educational, skill-based, treatment support); and linkages to other relevant services.

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“Patients in crisis often end up waiting in the ED for a bed, and get admitted for 72 hours or less until they are stabilized,” said Naomi Vodden, Director of Mental Health Services at GBHS. “In this new setting, right next to the ED, we have staff dedicated and ready for patients in crisis, and our aim is to provide some initial counseling in a supportive space, and possibly reduce the need for an admission.”

The Crisis Support Program is staffed to accommodate 6-8 patients per day on an outpatient basis through the week, and 24 hours if needed on weekends. The program will improve mental health services and provide a much-needed first step in the recovery process for our growing number of mental health patients.

GBHS has 11 psychiatrists, and offers mental health services for the Grey Bruce region, serving 11 hospital sites. Last year, there were 810 admissions for mental health-related issues, and 3,700 individuals were treated on an outpatient basis.