Chatham, ON – The Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) is helping students with mental health issues or addictions to connect with services available in the community that will enable them to succeed in school.
As part of the province's Open Minds, Healthy Minds strategy, the CCAC launched its Mental Health and Addictions Nurses (MHAN) program about three years ago and currently has eight nurses supporting the region's public, Catholic and French school boards.
"These nurses are helping schools to recognize and address mental health and addictions issues," said Patient Services Manager Jennifer Jovanovski. "Depending on each school board's needs, the nurses will either connect students with school staff or with services available in the community. Nurses can attend treatment appointments at the students' request. The nurses also help transition students back into school from hospital or other care settings."
The Erie St. Clair mental health and addictions nurses made more than 5,000 visits last year to about 550 students.
"There's definitely a greater awareness of our program," said Jovanovski. "We're also working in a lot more schools. In fact, we have visited students in 60 schools across Erie St. Clair. We just brought on our newest nurse who is working with the French school board, which covers all of Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton. So we're able to reach even more students."
The MHAN team also takes part in summer school; setting up educational booths at several locations and making themselves available to students in need of services.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 10-20% of the country's youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder, with 1 in 5 of those youth receiving necessary services.
For more information about the CCAC's mental health and addictions services, please visit our website at www.healthcareathome.ca/eriestclair.
About The Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
The Erie St. Clair CCAC is dedicated to enhancing the health, quality of life and independence of individuals in our communities by offering a single point of access to home and community services. Serving over 38,000 patients across the region annually, we assist patients in making informed choices about health care options and we work to ensure that the right care is available at the right time and place. To access our services, call 310-CCAC or go to www.healthcareathome.ca/eriestclair. Also, visit the www.eriestclairhealthline.ca for information on health and social services in your community.