Following the major redevelopment project that brought our
acute care services together under one roof in 2014, there was still another
chapter to write in our journey to integrate and improve access to local healthcare
On May 26, 2017, that chapter was realized as project
stakeholders and dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open a brand-new
Community Addiction and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) centre at Cornwall
Community Hospital (CCH).
The new centre, strategically constructed across from the
Emergency Department and staffed with a team of mental health and addiction
specialists, nurses and social workers, combined adult and youth mental health
and addiction services that were previously offered at three different sites in
Cornwall. The facility also introduced much-needed capacity to treat more clients
and reduce wait times.
Approximately 30% of people will experience mental illness
and/or substance abuse at some point in their lifetime, but historically the
attention and investments in the mental health sector have not kept up with the
other healthcare demands. With the opening of the new centre in 2017, CCH
together with our partners made decisions and investments to ensure that the
needs of this population could become a priority.
The CAMHS centre could also not have been made possible
without our Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation (CCHF) and its supporters,
from organizations and local businesses to individual donors across SDG and
Akwesasne. Over the course of three years, thanks to numerous events, pledges,
and fundraising, CCHF successfully raised $1.1 million towards our capital
The impact that the centre has had in our community has been
tremendous. Since 2017, nearly 45,000 local adults and youth have received
treatment through CAMHS, totalling more than 330,000 visits.
Systems have been established to identify and offer services
to individuals and families concurrently, and internal referrals now
seamlessly allow clients to move across programs to meet their needs.
Several dedicated client and family advisory committees have
been formed to ensure that the voices of clients and caregivers are being
New chapters are now being added to our CAMHS journey as the
demands for both adult and youth mental health and addiction services have
increased exponentially since 2017, and even more so since the start of the
Staff are noticing new and growing trends such as an
increased demand for early response teams, increased housing insecurity and
homelessness, and more individuals presenting with multiple concerns.
While the past five years have focused on streamlining and
solidifying services, the aim over the next five years will be to enhance
cross-sector work and collaborative partnerships to address these needs:
partnering with Recovery Care to launch a mobile recovery clinic in Cornwall,
SDG and Akwesasne; the new short-term crisis Safe Bed Program at Riverview
Manor; the Vibrant Community Roundtable to address complex societal issues like
poverty and community livability with stakeholders; the expansion of mobile response
teams in partnership with regional police; and, working with the Upper Canada,
Cornwall and Area Ontario Health Team.
Recently CAMHS also partnered with dozens of providers
across the region to form Mental Health and Addictions Partners for Regional
Coordinated Access. Together, the group launched www.AccessMHA.ca, a one-stop online portal
to help put you in touch with mental health and/or substance use support,
services, and care in your area.
Similarly, our Children’s and Youth Mental Health Services
banded with regional partners to form the Kids Come First Help Team and
launched www.1Call1Click.ca to help put
families in touch with local mental health and addiction supports for youth.
Needless to say, it’s been a busy five years for CAMHS.
However, I am reminded that mental health is not a destination, rather it’s a journey
and a process; and, chapters will continue to be written in our journey towards
meeting the mental health and addiction needs of our population.
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Patient and Family Advisory Committee
Cornwall Community Hospital is located on the traditional lands of the Akwesasne Mohawks and their ancestors. We are forever grateful to those who had been on these lands before us and through their stewardship and connection to the land, have made it what it is now. Read our full Land Acknowledgement here.
Mental Health Crisis Line
1-866-996-0991 (16 yrs +)