Mental health and addictions programs receive $190,000 boost

·2 min read

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has received more than $190,000 to enhance two of its mental health and addiction programs.

According to CKHA Board Chair Greg Aarssen, the organization will get an extra $190,000 a year to improve a Mobile Crisis Response Unit with extra nursing hours, and hire extra help for the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic next to the hospital in Chatham.

He added the Mobile Crisis Unit, which is a joint partnership between the hospital and Chatham-Kent Police, will get $40,000, and the clinic will receive $150,000.

This top-up brings the total annual funding for the RAAM clinic to $230,161 and the mobile crisis clinic to $120,000.

CKHA CEO Lori Marshall said the mobile crisis unit would help everybody involved, including frontline officers who come into contact with those who have mental health and substance abuse issues. She added the addictions clinic would also get a new addictions therapist and more clerical support to keep the office organized.

“This allows us to hire an additional addictions therapist and some additional clerical support just to help with the organization of the clinic,” said Marshall. “This is a good next step towards enhancements, and we are committed to looking further into how we might expand mental health and addiction services.”

Marshall said the mobile crisis clinic is designed to have health care workers available to work with frontline police officers when they come in contact with someone who may require some mental health support.

“Even before the pandemic, we knew mental health and addictions was a growing need, probably nationally, as well as in our community,” said Marshall. “We have definitely seen, since the pandemic, increasing needs in our community.”

Marshall said this funding is a “good next step” in enhancing the hospital’s work in this area.

“We are committed to looking further as to how it is that we might expand mental health and addiction services to support the need.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News