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Mental health and addictions services 'integrate' in Huron-Perth


There’s a new name and vision for mental health in Huron and Perth counties, with little to no changes expected for clients.

“Ideally they won’t notice any change at all, but what we know from our ability to provide services is, things will be more integrated and better organized,” explained the Ontario CEO for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Camille Quenneville.

Two of the largest providers of mental health and addiction services in Huron and Perth counties — Choices for Change and Resilience Huron Perth — are joining forces to become Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services, a chapter of the CMHA.

“We see the same clients. We have similar programs. Peer support, court support, case management, housing, so it just really made sense for us to bring it all together, and have it really, truly integrated,” said Catherine Hardman, the former executive director of Choices for Change and CEO of the newly created CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Hardman, who will lead the newly merged organization which served a combined 2,600 clients last year, said streamlining the two groups makes sense now as the complexity of the cases they manage increases.

“You used to see people who just drank, or were depressed. The complexity we see now is so difficult. People are using multiple drugs at one time, on top of having really significant mental health concerns,” she said.

The newly created CMHA Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health Services will have 90 employees and will retain its five offices — two in Stratford, two in Goderich, and one in Seaforth.

“We don’t ever approach these integrations as a money saving opportunity. There’s still the same number of clients. It’s really about how do we organize ourselves better to support them,” said Quenneville.

The new addictions and mental health counselling organization will be headquartered out of Stratford. Hardman believes the CMHA’s national name recognition will make it easier for those in need to find the help they need.

“People know when they hear 'Canadian Mental Health Association' they understand that it’s reputable, and that they’re going to get good service. It’s where they can go to get what they need,” said Hardman. Top Stories

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