Niagara Mental Health Charter Launched

Niagara mental health charter launched

(MARYANNE FIRTH/TRIBUNE STAFF)
Coleen Flynn, left, and Erin McGinnis, right, of Niagara Region public health outline how they plan to implement the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter into their workplace.

Niagara Falls Review
May 28th, 2014

There is now a solid foundation in Niagara to address mental health and addictions.

Following years of work by local agencies, facilitated by Niagara Connects and Healthy Living Niagara, the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter was launched Wednesday at Welland Community Wellness Complex.

More than 65 agencies have committed to working together to adopt and promote the principles of the charter, which focuses on mental wellness promotion, mental illness prevention and addictions services.

The document’s goals include incorporating mental wellness for all people in planning for the future and taking an inclusive, holistic, preventive, individual and family-centred approach for people of all ages, so all residents are able to achieve their optimal level of well-being.

The charter is meant to be shared, discussed, implemented and brought to life by local agencies, Rashmi Biwas, board president of Canadian Mental Health Association of Niagara, said during the launch.

“Someone might ask what did you do today? You can say, ‘Today I helped launch a charter that will change the lives of people in the community for generations to come,’” she told the crowd.

The charter “provides a formal bridge between children and adult mental health services,” which are funded by separate ministries, said Ellis Katsof, CEO of Pathstone Mental Health.

Niagara is the first community in Ontario to create a formal charter outlining the principles and objectives to support its residents regardless of age, he said.

“We’re a leader in building this sort of framework.”

Now that the charter has launched, it’s up to the agencies to implement the document and follow through with its intentions moving forward, Katsof said.

“This is one step in a long journey. The hard work has yet to be done.”

The charter is “globally unique,” said Dr. Edgardo Perez, regional chief of mental health and addictions for Niagara Health System.

“As we move forward, agencies will have a guide for how they collaborate and create more integration in their services.”

The document is intended to help organizations work together to ensure there are no gaps in care, Perez said.

During the event, the more than 100 agency representatives were asked to come together to discuss how they plan to implement the charter into their respective workplaces.

For the full charter document, visit www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com.

Photo taken by Maryanne Firth.
Article from Niagara Falls Review.
Coleen Flynn, left, and Erin McGinnis, right, of Niagara Region public health outline how they plan to implement the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter into their workplace. (MARYANNE FIRTH/Tribune Staff)
Coleen Flynn, left, and Erin McGinnis, right, of Niagara Region public health outline how they plan to implement the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter into their workplace. (MARYANNE FIRTH/Tribune Staff)

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