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C2-1: Changing the Paradigm for Access to MH Services for Pediatric Emergency Patients

Those patients who have lower acuity illness and that are in crisis can benefit from a better model. As part of a national study, a mental health bundle was developed to deal with patients who are of low acuity, who present to the Pediatric Emergency Department at the Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, London ON.

In an effort to find the best pathway for these low acuity mental health patients in crisis to be cared for, the Children’s Hospital co-partnered and collaborated with an external organization known as Tandem. Tandem offers crisis intervention consisting of de-escalation and providing choice appointments that allows the patient to make personalized choices to improve their mental health care. In the past when such patients came to the pediatric emergency department, they would be given information as to where to obtain services. But, importantly, the patient/family was required to take on the onerous task of making contact with outside organizations and arranging their own follow-up. Under the new process Tandem, itself a longstanding partnership amongst several children’s mental health agencies, takes on the burden of that responsibility, therefore reducing the overall emotional, psychological, and taxing burden of making self-referral appointments.


Gary Joubert graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1977, with a BSc Honours in Genetics, winning the gold medal. He then went on to do PhD work at McMaster University transition to Medicine and graduating in 1983. Pediatric residency was undertaken in Halifax at the IWK, then Winnipeg at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital successfully completing his Royal College exams in 1987. In 1988 he moved to the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, becoming the Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and faculty at the University of Western Ontario in 1990. He was Chair/Chief of Emergency Medicine from 2000 to 2014. He is an Assistant Professor at Western University. Throughout his career he has been actively involved in research having over 50 peer reviewed papers, and 84 abstracts. He is a cofounder of NCER and PERC to Canadian research networks.

Scott Coleby cut his therapeutic teeth in wilderness experiential programs with youth at risk. After six years, he went from one extreme to another, and left the outdoors for a closed psychiatric unit. After a while in that milieu, having worked around the clock, sleeping on the ground, working shifts, weekends, and holidays, Scott shifted and landed the elusive day job, moving into a leadership role, supervising an adolescent boy’s live-in program. For the next 12 years, he supervised justice programs, foster care, and community-based counselling, during which time, he became a psychotherapist. After a break from the sector, Scott was lured, “with very little resistance”, back by a trusted colleague who knew being of service to children and families was something he felt a strong desire to contribute to. Today, he is the clinical director at Vanier Children’s Mental Wellness which is also the lead Agency for London Middlesex.



C2-2: Emergency Department Alternatives: Showcasing a new Model of Care

Even at the best of times, sitting in an Emergency Department (ED) can be distressing. Imagine being young and struggling with your mental health. Emergency Departments are environments primarily designed to be sterile, efficient, and to facilitate high through-put of physical trauma or physical illness cases; not to be places of comfort, calm, and connection. So, if not the ED, then where?

In England, the health service (NHS) is quickly scaling a community-based alternative to Emergency Departments for people in crisis. From 5:30 pm to midnight, community spaces such as cafés, shopfronts and charity-run locations are repurposed to become welcoming, safe, friendly, and non-stigmatizing spaces.

In this presentation, we will explore alternative models to emergency departments for people in mental health crisis, how they actually work and how they can be actually mobilized in Canada. You’ll hear from Frayme, Habitus Collective, Director of NHS trusts in the UK and Youth Peer Researchers from Canada about bringing the “Recovery Cafe” model to Canada. We will also explore your experiences with alternative approaches to emergency departments, and possibilities for implementation in the province of Ontario.


Kristy Allen (she/her) is Frayme’s Knowledge Mobilization Specialist. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree with a concentration in Social Inequities in Health from Simon Fraser University. She is passionate about knowledge mobilization and knowledge equity, and believes that community engagement is the key to creating sustainable programs and services. Through her personal experiences, she advocates for youth, caregivers, and advocates to be key stakeholders in youth mental health system transformation. Kristy lives just outside of Muskoka, Ontario, and is an avid hiker, skier, yogi, and can often be found with her sidekick, Moose the dog.

Tamir Virani (he/him) is Frayme’s Senior Marketing and Communications Lead. Tamir has worked in the healthcare industry for 8+ years leading communications, marketing, advocacy and policy work across different sectors including quality improvement, end-of-life care and mental health. Tamir previously worked as a journalist and as a peer support worker at the University of Ottawa. Tamir holds a postgraduate degree in journalism and communications and a Masters of Health Administration from the Telfer School of Management. Outside of work, Tamir freelances as a videographer and graphic designer and has won many people over with his skor cookie recipe. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Centretown Community Health Centre based in Ottawa. As someone with lived experience, Tamir is passionate about mental health advocacy and hopes his work at Frayme will help build an integrated system that won’t let anyone who needs support slip through the cracks.

Callum Ross: As a partner at Habitus Collective based in London, UK, and Calgary, Canada; Callum Ross works with community organizations, health regions, and municipalities to expand programs, track impact, and launch innovations throughout North America and Europe. Callum specializes in building the partnerships and collaboration required to deliver and evaluate community and health initiatives at a community and system level.

Previously Callum worked for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary for 7 years as the Director of Innovation and Collaboration where he created, at its time, one of the largest cross-organization workforce of peer supporters in Canada. This change led to significant shifts in how mental health was supported by service providers in the area. Callum has extensive experience of leading service change and describes himself as being obsessed with amplifying community expertise, using better data, and existing resources to improve outcomes for young people and adults with lived experience.

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