Youth mental health clinic opens in Winnipeg amid long wait in public system – Winnipeg

A newly opened youth mental health clinic in Winnipeg is hoping to help families quickly amid a public system plagued by long wait times — though one expert says it’s not all problems. Will not be.

For now, Cocoon Clinic is primarily a women’s show. But executive director Shea Silva, a psychiatric nurse by trade, wants to expand the two-week-old project. She said she aspires to ease the daily mental health struggles of those waiting for more specialized care.

So far, Silva says the clinic has been well received.

“What we’re hearing from parents is just relief, a huge relief to be able to see someone so quickly,” Silva said.

Meanwhile, wait times at the publicly funded Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Center range from a month to more than a year, a Joint Health spokeswoman said.

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“Waiting times for treatment will depend on what specific support the patient needs,” he said. “In general, waiting times for child and youth mental health services have increased.”

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Silva says she hopes the clinic can expand to people ages 12 to 25 and work with professionals in the public system, including family doctors, school counselors and Others, including therapists—but with a different perspective.

It’s a model that would involve assessing mental health needs with a psychiatric nurse, which Silva says usually doesn’t happen unless patients are in crisis.

“We really want to bring it earlier in the trip to get a good idea of ​​things so they don’t end up in this place,” Silva told OlxPraca on Saturday.

“Sometimes we’re seeing that they’ve been struggling for a really long time and we’re able to provide some immediate strategies and interventions that can improve the situation today.”

Silva’s goal is to meet with her clients during what she says can be a painful waiting period for an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist, to explore things like medication and treatment options. .

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The Manitoba Pediatric Society (MPS) welcomes the July opening of the Cocoon Clinic, but more large-scale solutions are needed, as the need for youth mental health services continues to grow.

“It’s a big problem, and it’s been a problem for years, but it’s gotten a lot worse, especially with the pandemic, because we’re seeing a lot more anxiety, depression (and) eating disorders, ” said MPS President, Dr Marni Hanna.

The community pediatrician says she refers several patients to the MTC’s centralized intake service every day.

“Demand has definitely increased in the last two or three years,” Hanna said.

However, access to services in Manitoba is “inadequate” and unsustainable, he said, pointing to the province’s lower-than-average psychiatrist-per-capita ratio — mental health resources are poor only in rural Manitoba outside of Winnipeg. Happening, said Hanna.

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A Joint Health spokeswoman said in an emailed statement Saturday that Joint Health is hiring five psychiatrists to help reduce wait times, including two dedicated to children and adolescents. , thanks to provincial funding announced in June.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Hanna replied. “We need more than that.”

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“Kids are the place to help with mental health issues, because if you can give them good coping strategies at a young age, they turn into better-functioning adults who need less additional resources. Is.”

Hanna added that Cocoon Clinic’s $150-an-hour rate would be unaffordable for many families, especially those who need constant care.

She wants to see better coverage of mental health services in the province, which Silva hopes could be on the table at the clinic.

“We fully recognize that mental health problems affect disadvantaged communities at a higher rate, and this includes people of lower socio-economic status who may not be able to afford our fees, and therefore our The goal is to be as available as possible,” Silva said.

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