Mental Health and Addictions Mobile Team unveiled by Minister of Health

Ontario Health Minister and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones was in Essex on Monday to meet with members of the Mental Health and Addictions Response Team (MHART).

MHART aims to provide residents with timely access to appropriate treatment services and referrals to support services within their communities, Jones said.

« This is one of many innovative 911 care models that have been established across Ontario, » she said.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said the hours of the new Mental Health and Substance Abuse Response Team (MHART) could be adjusted. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The MHART team was created in partnership between Essex-Windsor EMS and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said the team consists of two full-time paramedics and a social worker from Hotel Dieu Grace.

The paramedics work 12 hours a day, seven days a week and the social worker works eight hours a day from Monday to Friday.

« His [run] during peak times for the mental health and addictions population,” Krauter said. “It starts at seven in the morning and continues until seven in the evening. We are considering rearranging the schedules. »

Bill Marra, president and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace, also leaves the door open to expanding the team’s hours, but says that may not be necessary.

« We’re currently collecting data to understand, ‘Where are the peak times? What days of the week? What times of the day do we need the most support?' » Marra said. « We have to understand and measure the impact it will have. If it’s something we need, we’ll entertain it. »

A man dressed in a suit
Bill Marra, president and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, said they would consider expanding the hours of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Response Team (MHART). (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Jones said the team’s goal was to stop people from calling 911 to free up hospital beds.

The coroner’s inquest

Jones answered questions about the coroner’s inquest into the police shooting of Matthew Mahoney, asking for time to consider the recommendations made by the jury and what it will take to implement those actions.

« I think there are absolutely opportunities where we can work more collaboratively, like what we’re talking about here today, » she said. « We need agencies, communities and organizations to be able to work together and make sure that care is seamless. »

The Minister of Health said the MHART team could also provide services to patients requiring mental health and addictions support.

« The MHART facility and team have a broader responsibility and range of services that they would provide, » Jones said. « Anything we can do to divert people from calling 911 because they have access to services in the community is our end goal. »

Local stakeholders want to ensure that the MHART team and its vehicle are here to stay.

« We’re looking at our data and making sure this is a long-term sustainable model for Windsor-Essex County through this innovative leadership we’ve seen, » said Kristin Kennedy, President and CEO. Executive of Erie Shores HealthCare and Co-Chair, Windsor-Essex Health Team Ontario.

Jones was also in Essex to officially launch another medical innovation. A mobile medical vehicle that will assist paramedics in handling 911 calls.

The mobile clinic, which Krauter said cost $500,000 to build and operate, was built in Windsor. Krauter said his goal is to send him to communities where people need health care the most.

A truck with a mobile healthcare clinic inside
The newly unveiled mobile health clinic will be used by healthcare workers in Windsor-Essex to bring services and care to communities that need it most. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

“It speaks to various levels of government and over 40 organizations coming together and contributing their expertise,” Jones said.


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