The results of the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately exacerbated challenges faced by those in our community experiencing mental health and addiction conditions. After accelerating efforts focused on these affected community members by launching the Community Wellness Bus (CWB) in just a few short months, and over a year of its continued success, our AOHT partner and community organizations remain committed to coming together to work collaboratively to advance initiatives that will make a difference in the lives of our community members.
The AOHT held an Integrated Community-Based Mental Health and Addictions Planning Session on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at the Machine Shop. The team was pleased to welcome 33 participants from 27 organizations in Algoma and connect leaders from across the community to discuss opportunities to advance mental health and addictions planning and improve outcomes for Algoma residents.
The morning session focused on reviewing and garnering feedback on the strategic directions identified in a Consultation Report. This report was conducted in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Algoma in May 2022 and its purpose was to outline a mental health and addictions plan for the AOHT that focuses on meeting the needs of individuals throughout their lives, addresses the broader determinants of health, and empowers individuals, families, and communities. The afternoon session, which was attended by nine participants from nine AOHT partner organizations, built upon the input from the morning session and focused on the identification of frameworks and immediate actions to move initiatives forward.
After the planning session, a summary report, which outlined the outcomes of the day and associated recommendations for action, was prepared by our facilitators. A small working group has begun conceptualizing how to coordinate this work in a streamlined and integrated way. Leaders in providing mental health and addictions services in Algoma can anticipate involvement in implementing the recommendations.
The AOHT would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to those who participated in the planning session for their continued dedication to this important work. Of the many things that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, we’ve learned that working collaboratively as organizations in Algoma will help us improve the lives of our residents for years to come.