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Waterloo Region’s first Integrated Crisis Centre to open this summer


Thresholds Homes and Supports and Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington partner to address mental health and substance-use crises

Kitchener, Ontario (May 14, 2024): Thresholds Homes and Supports and Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW) announce the upcoming opening of Waterloo Region’s first-ever Integrated Crisis Centre (ICC) at 298 Lawrence Avenue, Kitchener. The Centre is set to open this summer and marks a significant milestone in addressing the pressing need for specialized care for individuals experiencing mental health and substance-use crises in our community.

The Integrated Crisis Centre will serve as an alternate destination to hospitals, diverting individuals away from overwhelmed emergency rooms to a more suitable environment for comprehensive care. The initiative follows almost a year of collaborative consultation between the Region of Waterloo Public Health, Thresholds, CMHAWW, Paramedic Services and other stakeholders. Building on the successful models implemented in other Ontario communities, notably London, the ICC represents a vital shift in crisis care delivery.

Addressing systemic gaps in mental health care
Emergency departments are not an optimal place to treat people presenting with mental health or substance-use crises. Often, these patients are left waiting hours and even days for assessment before any care can be administered. Additionally, patients with substance-use issues may not be treated for underlying mental health issues, managed only for substance use and then discharged, creating a “revolving door” of repeat hospital visits.

Immediate access to trauma-informed care
Recognizing the limitations of emergency departments in effectively addressing mental health and substance-use crises, the ICC ensures prompt attention and individualized care. The Centre will provide a trauma-informed and therapeutic environment for those in need, staffed by professionals trained extensively in mental health and addictions.

Pilot project for future funding
The ICC represents a pilot project, opening without funding, aimed at demonstrating its effectiveness in meeting the community’s needs. As a result, the Centre will have reduced hours (2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday). CMHAWW and Thresholds aim to secure ongoing funding to ensure the sustainability of the clinic, opening 24/7 and expanding its reach to more individuals in crisis.

A better healthcare system for all
Ultimately, the ICC will strive to ensure that Waterloo Region residents experiencing a crisis have access to the immediate care they deserve. By providing continuity of care and alleviating pressure on overwhelmed hospitals, the Centre will benefit not only individuals in crisis but also the larger community.

Eric Philip, CEO, Thresholds Homes and Supports
“The opening of this clinic represents our deep commitment to providing innovative solutions for mental health care,” said Eric Philip, CEO, Thresholds Homes and Supports. “We are incredibly grateful to CMHAWW for their partnership on this project, and we look forward to reshaping the landscape of crisis care with them, prioritizing dignity and recovery for all those we serve.”

Helen Fishburn, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
“We continue to see an increase in the complexity of needs and risks in our community. The creation of an Integrated Crisis Centre in collaboration with Thresholds Home and Supports would open some very important doors in our community at a pivotal time. The ICC will ensure clients have a welcoming environment, designed specifically for mental health, addictions and crisis challenges, with access to crisis stabilization and services, including peer support that will improve their overall support experience and health outcomes.”

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