- Allison Crawford, MD, FRCPC, PhD – Associate Chief, Virtual Mental Health, Co-Chair, ECHO Ontario Mental Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Jenny Hardy, OT Reg. (Ont.)- Acting Director, Virtual Mental Health, Outreach and ECHO, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In Ontario, Canada, rural and under-served regions tend to have higher incidences of mental health disorders, with much of this care being managed within primary care. Challenges exist when primary care providers have limited training, and few local options for psychiatry referrals. Outreach psychiatry is a foundational model, where psychiatrists provide on-site clinical services, education and support to communities across Ontario (usually short term through fly-in/drive-in). While this model has improved access to care, limitations in scope and reach exist, as well as additional costs for adjunct services to create a sustainable, efficient systems-level impact. New technologies and innovations have allowed for the growth of new models that further enhance capacity, collaboration and care in these communities. Specifically, Integrated TeleMental Health models and Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), which provide care and support to patients and providers, and build mental health capacity. This session will discuss the integration of three innovative outreach and capacity building models to improve mental health access, by considering relevant literature and reflecting on experiences with implementation and evaluation. Together these models fit within a stepped-continuum to improve direct care to patients and support for providers in their own communities, thereby building local capacity.