The Kingston Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA Kingston) and Addictions and Mental Health Services – Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (AMHS-KFLA) have begun formal discussions to discuss integrating into one entity.
Karen Berti, AMHS-KFLA Supervisor, and Sherry Lachine, CMHA Kingston Board President, announced the move in a press release on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.
“This partnership is voluntary and, while in the early stages of discussion, is supported by CMHA Ontario,” the press release said.
AMHS-KFLA and CMHA Kingston currently operate as two separate community health service providers offering “accessible, high-quality, client-focused care while working towards reducing stigma and promoting well-being primarily within similar communities.” According to the announcement, the idea of an integrated model is the result of the strong partner relationship and inter-agency collaboration.
“The Canadian Mental Health Association in Kingston has just celebrated 40 years of reinforcing positive attitudes and behaviours towards mental health, increasing awareness, reducing stigma and creating opportunities for education. We are excited to have a larger opportunity to support our community,” Lachine said.
“Mental health is not just mental illness – they are related, but different. We need to continue to increase mental health literacy for all and advocate for those needing support. This partnership is developing at the right time, in the right way for our community.”
Both agencies said that a planning team has been established, and the next steps towards integration will include the development of a formal communications and stakeholder engagement plan.
“It is anticipated that through this work, clients, their families, partner organizations, and the community at large will benefit from a streamlined, people-focused service model that addresses mental health and addictions concerns, and best supports wellness and the recovery journey of those we collectively support,” the announcement reads.
“This is an exciting opportunity for AMHS-KFLA at a critical point in the agency. The potential for our two organizations to work together to fully support our clients in the full continuum of care, ensuring education through to full wrap-around support for clients with addictions and mental illness,” said Berti.
“This opportunity allows for no client to fall between the cracks and be truly supported in all aspects of their journey to recovery.”