City has wide range of mental-health services

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Through provincial mental health reform initiatives, the psychiatric emergency service that was provided through the Royal Ottawa Hospital was transferred to The Ottawa Hospital in 2000.

The General and Civic campus sites of The Ottawa Hospital have an emergency psychiatric team composed of dedicated psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychiatrists as well as physicians and specialists in training. The expertise necessary to deal with persons in deep emotional crisis is available 24 hours a day.

These teams also have access to short-term outpatient follow-up through urgent consult psychiatric clinics as required. Our role is to respond effectively to the needs of people and their families experiencing crisis by providing psychiatric assessment, crisis intervention, stabilization, treatment and support in the emergency setting.

Hospitals are one component of a comprehensive mental health system. The Ottawa Hospital is working closely with community mental health agencies, programs and service providers to help individuals access appropriate community supports and services. Services such as the Champlain District Community mental health crisis line, the Canadian Mental Health Association case management services with hospitals, and shared-care arrangements between family physicians and psychiatrists are being implemented in Ottawa to respond to some of the long-term needs of people suffering from a mental illness.

With the renovations to the emergency department at the Civic campus to be completed in spring 2005, we will have an expanded psychiatric emergency service for Ottawa.

I share letter-writer Judy Kiar’s concerns for the welfare of those individuals requiring psychiatric service. While we may not yet have a perfect system, Citizen readers should know the range of options that do exist, both with hospitals and in the community at large.

Louis Soucy,

MD, Ottawa,
Medical director,
Psychiatric emergency services,
The Ottawa Hospital

This letter was sent in response to Judy’s letter published on March 9th, 2004, entitled “Emergency wards fail depressed people.”