'SEE-ing' the difference: evaluation shows that $167 million investment improves Ontario's community mental health system, but many still in need

    TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - Can $167 million in provincial funding make a
difference to Ontario's community mental health system? According to the
results from the Systems Enhancement Evaluation Initiative (SEEI), the answer
is yes. Ontarians now have access to more appropriate community mental health
services. But, the research also highlights the system's limited resources to
serve all those in need.
    Led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)'s Dr. Paula
Goering, SEEI is the culmination of nine research studies that explored the
system impact of $167 million of new community mental health funding in
Ontario. As Dr. Goering explains, this report is an installment in the ongoing
dialogue about what we can do to enhance the community mental health system's
ability to meet the needs of those living with mental illness.

    The results showed that:

    -   Access to services improved, with many early intervention and court
        support services able to double the number of people served, and more
        clients were matched with the level of care they required.
    -   Programs are reaching people earlier, as young people are getting
        help at an earlier stage of their illness.
    -   Clients experienced a range of positive outcomes such as lower
        relapse rates in use of hospital resources for those in early
        intervention programs, and rates of homelessness and the severity of
        symptoms were reduced for clients in the Ottawa court support

    However, the data showed that our health system has a limited capacity to
serve all those in need, particularly clients who need intensive or daily
community level support. Also, clients experienced a lack of other support
services, particularly in the areas of housing and vocational training. At the
regional level, one of the highest areas of unmet needs for clients was a lack
of access to dental, social and vocational services.
    "It's important to remember that formal health care services and systems
are only part of the picture," says Dr. Goering. "As the results show, the
larger society in which the community health system is located has a profound
influence on the lives of those who seek help."

    The SEEI partner organizations are:

    -   Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
    -   Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
    -   Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
    -   Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs
    -   Ontario Mental Health Foundation

    For more information on what happened and what differences we can see as
a result of this substantial investment in Ontario's community mental health
system, visit <a href="http://www.camh.net/News_events/News_releases_and_media_advisories_and_backgrounders/SEEI_final_report_web.pdf">Moving in the Right Direction</a> for a copy of the SEEI final

    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's
leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH
combines clinical care, research, education, policy development, prevention
and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental
health and addiction issues.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media
Relations, at (416) 595-6015

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