HealthPRO Canada News

May 08, 2024

Ontario Shores: Enhancing Mental Health Support in Ontario

Image of Ontario Shores

With a focus on specialized care, HealthPRO Canada member, Ontario Shores, offers a range of programs addressing various mental health concerns, from adolescent eating disorders to forensic care. Andrea Marshall, Vice President of Communications and Patient Experience, shares insights into Ontario Shores' partnership with nine specialized psychiatric hospital providers across Ontario. She delves into the specialized programs and services offered, the continuity of care for individuals transitioning between different levels of support, and how they ensure accessibility and inclusivity in their mental health services.

Can you tell us about the Mental Health Partners and how you work with the nine psychiatric hospital providers across Ontario to enhance mental health support?  

Together, we provide a continuum of care for people living with mental illness and/or addictions across Ontario – from specialized inpatient acute and rehabilitative care to outpatient services for people living in the community. In collaboration with system partners, we offer collective support as well as specialized clinical and innovation expertise to Ontario Health, aimed towards building a comprehensive, connected mental health and addictions system for care for Ontarians. As a member of the Mental Health Partners, Ontario Shores works with member organizations to improve outcomes for patients who experience mental illness.   

Can you discuss any specialized programs or services Ontario Shores offers for people with mental health concerns? 

As a tertiary hospital, all of our programs and services are highly specialized. We have an Adolescent Eating Disorders Program that offers inpatient, outpatient and day treatment services. We provide care for geriatrics who are struggling with dementia, and we have a forensic program that provides expert care for individuals with mental illness who have come in contact with the law. 

Ontario Shores provides an outpatient treatment program for adults struggling with anxiety and depression called the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program. It offers in-person or virtual cognitive behavioural therapy with a clinician in a one-on-one or group format and no healthcare referral is needed. The program provides services in Scarborough, Durham Region and all the way through Peterborough.  

How does Ontario Shores ensure continuity of care for individuals transitioning between different levels of support, such as inpatient and outpatient care? 

Ontario Shores works with health and social service providers across our shared communities to connect patients to the resources and supports they need.  

In 2023, we partnered with Scarborough Health Network (SHN) and the Durham and Toronto branches of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to create a Collaborative Integrated Care Pathway for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. This pathway aligns with the quality standards established by Health Quality Ontario to address the healthcare needs of adults aged 18 and above who have a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia. Our partnership has helped reduce length of stay, improve transitions of care and improve patient medical record documentation, optimizing patient experience across the pathway.  

How do you ensure accessibility and inclusivity in your mental health services? 

Some of our outpatient services provide virtual options to support the accessibility of our services. We also have a few programs that require self-referral only. Ontario Shores conducts an annual assessment of our hospital to identify opportunities to improve the accessibility of our space. 

We have a robust Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Action Plan that has identified key activities to advance our culture of belonging in our clinical and non-clinical areas. We regularly ask for feedback from patients and families to identify opportunities for further improvement in this area. 

Can you provide information on any workshops, seminars, or support groups you're hosting during Mental Health Week? 

Ontario Shores has The Mental Health Podcast, featuring Kevin Frankish, Communications Specialist at Ontario Shores and former co-host of CityTV Toronto’s Breakfast Television. The podcast explores a world of mental health education, advocacy, and care through engaging conversations, inspiring stories and expert insights.  

We host various education and awareness events throughout the year. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for the latest updates and information about upcoming events. 

About Ontario Shores 

Ontario Shores, a specialty mental health hospital located in Whitby, Ontario, has been a HealthPRO Canada member since January 2012. With 346 beds and almost 100,000 outpatient visits a year, it provides specialized assessment and treatment services from adolescents to seniors.  Patients benefit from a therapeutic and recovery-focused environment built on compassion, empathy and hope.  

Ontario Shores has a dedicated team of more than 1,400 staff who provide exemplary, life-saving care across our communities including Durham and York Regions, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, with some programs serving all of Ontario.