New partnership aims to provide more mental health support to area families

A new partnership between Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA) and Addiction and Mental Health Services – Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (AMHS-KFLA) has been made possible by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) Resilient Communities Fund.

The $86,100 grant will allow the two organizations to build a collaborative partnership in which a dedicated addiction and mental health worker from AMHS-KFLA will work alongside FACSFLA frontline staff to provide support and connection to community services to families in the region, according to a joint release from the two organizations.

“Many families have been stressed by the difficulties imposed by pandemic restrictions. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is helping FACSFLA support them, families which are the foundation of our social fabric,” said Ted Hsu, MPP for Kingston and the Islands.

Focusing on early intervention and connection to community resources, the program came as a response to the increased support needs seen in communities due to isolation and other impacts stemming from the COVD-19 pandemic, according to the release.

“Developing this collaboration in response to the increased need during COVID-19 has been vital to children, youth, and families during an already difficult time,” added Sonia Gentile, Executive Director of FACSFLA. “Our partnership of community-based care is one we hope to see continue long into the future.”

Reportedly, the grant from the Resilient Communities Fund of the OTF will allow AMHS-KFLA to hire a new staff person who will work in partnership with FACSFLA staff to provide community-based mental health and addiction resources short-term support within the new program.

The goal of the program, according to the organizations, is to build understanding and share knowledge between the two agencies and work together to offer support, connection and resources to families connected to FACSFLA. Services are community-based, and often delivered to clients in their homes, FACSFLA stated, making the services more accessible to busy families, which helps reduce the stigma that many feel is a barrier to seeking help for mental health or addiction concerns.

“The added benefit of this partnership is that both organizations can use the knowledge and perspectives of the other to inform the care they provide and better understand the services and supports available through the network of agencies in the region,” Gentile stated.

Carol Ravnaas, Executive Director of Client Services at AMHS-KFLA agrees. “Partnerships and collaborations like these grow our capacity as an organization, and as a community,” she said. “We couldn’t be more pleased at this opportunity to strengthen the longstanding partnership between our two organizations with the support of the Ontario Trillium Fund.”

According to the release, FACSFLA and AMHS-KFLA are excited to formalize a partnership that will have a positive impact on many families in the region and will continue to explore means to secure funding to continue this new program, as well as other opportunities to collaborate in the future.

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