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One Number Access to Community Mental Health Programs Now in Place

 

Access to community mental health programs in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (RHA) has become a little more convenient. The Interlake-Eastern RHA has adopted a new, region wide, toll-free number for residents needing access to: child, adolescent and adult mental health services; services to assess and treat mental health concerns in older adults and seniors; and intensive case management involving longer term mental illness in adults.

 

Calling 1-866-757-6205 toll free (or 204-785-7752 in Selkirk and area) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will connect people with a mental health professional who can identify community based resources available and begin the referral process to access a mental health service provider.  People calling after hours are encouraged to leave a message and the call will be returned as soon as possible.

 

The new system provides many benefits according to Pat Olafson, regional director of mental health and crisis services, who is a proponent of this central intake approach to providing services.

 

“We’re serving a region that encompasses 61,000 km2,” Olafson said. “Central intake ensures that every referral we receive is addressed in a timely manner and evaluated on the same criteria. Everyone, no matter where they are in the region, will have access to RHA based services and be made aware of the closest community supports available.”

 

The other benefit, Olafson added, is that mental health staff providing direct support to clients will be freed of the paperwork that the referral process requires allowing them to focus on taking care of clients.

 

She notes that people dealing with an urgent mental health crisis, where care is required immediately, will still need to call the 24 hour crisis line at 1-866-427-8628 or 204-482-5419.

 

“We know that people all over the region have concerns about mental health. We hope that dialing one number for non urgent needs and one number for urgent needs and mental health crises will get people accessing the help they need sooner,” Olafson said.

 

For more information on Interlake-Eastern RHA mental health services, click here or visit www.ierha.ca and click on “Community Services” and “Mental Health.”

 

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