Access report provides comprehensive overview of coordinated and centralized mental health & addictions models in Ontario

Research Provides Basis to Improve Access to Mental Health and Addictions Services

Across Ontario, significant local and regional efforts are underway to improve access to mental health and addictions services using coordinated or centralized models.

"Review of Coordinated/Centralized Access Mechanisms: Evidence, Current State, and Implications" is the first report to offer a published description of the different coordinated or centralized access efforts across Ontario.

“The report does not evaluate the various approaches to access. Instead, it provides a detailed overview of the current landscape in Ontario, which is essential for an informed discussion on lessons learned and to facilitate better planning, performance measurement, and evaluation for the sector going forward,” said Dr. Brian Rush, Scientist Emeritus, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, CAMH, and lead author of the report.

The Access Report was co-sponsored by Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) and the CAMH Provincial System Support Program (PSSP).

The centralized/coordinated access approach offers the potential to improve treatment outcomes at both the client and system-levels by matching clients with the services(s) most appropriate to their needs, and making efficient use of available resources through consistent use of standardized processes and tools for assessment and referral.

The research finds that 12 of the 14 provincial LHINs have a coordinated or centralized access model, and the remaining two have other efforts in place to improve access. The research also finds considerable variation among the models, with each model being tailored to the context, needs and priorities of the LHINs.

“This report is an important first step. We first needed to identify and understand the various coordinated and centralized access models being used across the province, and now we can go another step further based on these findings to find out what works well, in which contexts, with different client groups,” elaborated Gail Czukar, CEO of AMHO.

"I presented the Access Report to my CEO colleagues and they expressed their sincere appreciation for this excellent work. We look forward to next steps and to streamlining access to mental health and addictions services for Ontarians," said Louise Paquette, CEO North East LHIN.

Next Steps in the Coordinated and Centralized Access Project

Discussion of the main findings and their implications with a broad range of stakeholders at the provincial and regional levels with a strong focus on evaluation and alignment.
Evaluation of coordinated access models across the province to identify key elements and guiding principles, and to support future development of regional/local access models.
Strategies for coordinating local/regional access models with each other and with provincial access models such as ConnexOntario and inpatient mental health bed registry.
Click here to view the full report and executive summary.

For more information, please contact Jessica Behnke, Communications and Public Affairs Officer: jessicabehnke [at] addictionsandmentalhealthontario [dot] ca or 416-490-8900 ext.8

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