May 1, 2023 | Mental Health, Leadership, Community and Partnerships
This week we’re recognizing Mental Health Week from May 1-7, 2023. Each year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness or mental health issue, but we all have mental health and need to care for our well-being. In this blog, Dr. Andrea Steen will share HDGH’s efforts to continue supporting those experiencing mental health and addictions illnesses in our community.
HDGH is known for its expertise in Mental Health and Addictions, providing a wide range of services for both inpatient and outpatient mental health and addiction diagnoses. People come to HDGH to receive help when they are in crisis, battling addictions, to see a psychiatrist and for support for chronic mental health problems. We have compassionate and well trained frontline nurses, social workers, crisis workers, occupational and recreational therapists and staff with lived experience to help those who are struggling. We work with so many great partners around the city and county, all with a special interest and knowledge in helping those experiencing a mental health and addictions crisis. Our partners include CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association), our local police and EMS, the Windsor Essex Public Health Unit and many local counselling and support agencies.
As most Windsor-Essex County citizens are aware, we are working hard to get a new hospital for the region. But what many people may not know is the equally exciting news ahead for the Mental Health and Addictions space. To bring all the mental health services together into one space, for centralized care, smoother hand overs, quicker access, and a place that makes mental health and addictions a priority. As part of the provincial announcement in October of 2021, HDGH received news of the 68 Mental Health Inpatient Bed expansion to our hospital. This will be a new space, built within existing buildings that is built for the patient needs, comfort and safety. The other exciting part of the plan is devising a new space for Urgent Mental Health and Addictions patients to come when in crisis or need of service. HDGH has been working with community partners like Windsor Regional Hospital, local police and EMS, CMHA and frontline staff to devise the plan for this expansion. The plan is going to be submitted to the government in the next few months to wait on the approvals and next steps.
To have one hospital like HDGH be the hub for mental health and addictions services for Windsor and Essex does several important things for our community. It brings experts together who are truly passionate about caring for persons with mental health and addictions issues. It keeps the care in one place, which will improve communication between the staff and allow a better path of care for those who are struggling with an often confusing and disjointed system to navigate. It is our hope that our specialty hospital will grow with new physicians, nurses, support staff and peer workers, as well as attract medical learners of all kinds who are interested in this very special field of medicine.
This will truly be transformational for Windsor Essex and its residents and HDGH is very excited to be part of this project to bring better mental health and addictions care for all.
Dr. Steen is the Vice President of Mental Health and Addictions, Medical Affairs, Quality, and Research, and Chief of Staff at HDGH. She has over 31 years of clinical experiences and has worn many hats from providing hands-on tertiary inpatient psychiatry and outpatient services, to now overseeing the Mental Health and Addictions department. She has always been driven by her passion to care for patients and educates the community about mental health issues. In addition to her roles at HDGH, Dr. Steen is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Western Ontario and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.
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