- John Haggarty MD, FRCPC. Professor and Chair. Northern Ontario School of Medicine
- Katie Anderson
As psychiatrists working in Northern Ontario, it has been required to be involved in developing care models to respond to the needs of communities in remote and underserviced areas. The recent pandemic has prompted new and successful models that have accelerated the growth of collaborative care models in our most isolated regions of Ontario, Canada. Historically, Indigenous peoples have resided in the most remote regions of Canada, where mental health is both limited and underfunded. The disparities across all the social determinants of health are well documented. For example, Indigenous peoples of Canada are one of the fastest growing population groups in Canada, yet many still lack access to clean water, local schools and health clinics. The toll of multiple generations of systematic cultural loss and neglect has most shown itself in the mental health effects. Sioux Lookout is a town in Northern Ontario that provides care to over33communities with a combined population of over 30,000. The majority have no road access. Any care planning requires respect for existing services, Indigenous culture, and a readiness to see both individual needs, as well as challenges in improving the system of care. Psychiatric care was provided by varied specialists previously. In February 2019, Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority (SLFNHA) entered into a contractual relationship with a psychiatrist who would provide a blended model of psychiatry services for which he provided 3 days of face-to-face services every two months and telepsychiatry services in between these visits. At the time of the pandemic, a request from SLFNHA to quickly move to only telehealth enhancement of services was met by all Psychiatry service providers, including a hospital from the larger centre, Thunder Bay Ontario, St. Joseph’s Care Group. These service adaptations required an integration of knowledge that respects the existing model of care developed by local providers and planners, and respect for the cultural setting, yet also required use of key components of collaborative care and the Indigenous Health Continuum. Amidst this response, there has been a sustained reduction of consult wait times from months to weeks, as well as high satisfaction reports. The author will share how the model of care mirrors that of other non-governmental organizations (NGO) providers in low income countries, such as Partners in Health. Also, an exploration of the challenges to ‘decolonialize’ mental health while bringing evidenced based care will be introduced.
- Understand a model that have accelerated the growth of collaborative care models into our most isolated regions of Canada.
- How the model permitted both respect for the cultural setting, key components of collaborative care and the Indigenous Health Continuum occurred.
- Audience will engage with these topics using team-based learning to explore the benefits and limits of unique approaches in similar setting.