Northern Ontario Mental Health and Addiction COVID-19 Innovations

The COVID-19 pandemic required a unique response in order to continue mental health and addiction services which are essential.  In the North Region of the province, resilience and ingenuity are an everyday requirement as the region represents the majority of the province's land mass and a much smaller population dispersed across it. 

In their responses to the pandemic, Northern mental health and addiction service providers built new pathways, created new service options, worked through barriers alongside community partners and found ways to maintain and build connection with clients/patients. 

The innovation continues and many providers have made changes with such significant positive impact that they have transformed their service and plan to continue with these changes post-pandemic. 

The following resources offer some examples of the ways in which mental health and addiction service providers in Northern Ontario have redesigned their services and formed new partnerships to adapt to the shifting landscape of COVID-19:

1. Release from Custody Task Force

2. Thunder Bay Isolation and Illness Shelters: Protecting Those Most Vulnerable

3. Building Connections: FIREFLY Virtual Conference

4. Championing Access to Technology for Individuals Living in Poverty

5. Shifting from Walk-in to Talk-in Therapy

6. Promoting Connection and Healing on Manitoulin Island


7. Reinventing CHOICES

8. Health Sciences North & Monarch Recovery Services Flex-Bed Unit

9. Drop-in Services - Meeting the Community Where They're At (CMHA-K)

10. Emergency Department Mental Health Clinic - NBRHC

11. Responding and Adapting Services at HANDS the Family Help Network


12. Virtual Waiting Room - After-Hours Clinic

13. Psychiatry Consults in the Community 

14. Educating and Supporting Families in Early Psychosis Intervention (CMHA-Thunder Bay)

15. Strategies for Engaging with Youth Remotely (Kenora Youth Wellness Hub) - Coming soon!


Project Contact: 

For more information about this initiative, please contact: 

Christine Lebert, Regional Manager - Northeast Region

Email: Christine [dot] Lebert [at] camh [dot] ca

Erin Dunn, Regional Manager - Northwest Region

Email: Erin [dot] Dunn [at] camh [dot] ca

For more specific information about any of the innovations highlighted, please refer to the contact person(s) listed at the bottom of each resource. 

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