Three days a week, a mobile walk-in clinic in Lambton County offers primary care, addiction treatment, and mental health services at various locations throughout the county.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Lambton Kent, Bluewater Health, and the North Lambton Community Health Centre have partnered to form MobileCare Sarnia-Lambton. The organization staffs the unit with mental health and addiction professionals as well as a nurse practitioner.
The health ministry of Ontario provided funding for the specially prepared van. After delays in preparing it during the epidemic, it has started to make visits at Sarnia, Watford, Alvinston, Thedford and Kettle, as well as Stony Point First Nation.
Regarding the response from the community, Rhonny Doxtator, the acting chief executive of CMHA Lambton-Kent, stated, “I think we’re getting traction.”
She speculated that the person might not have access to primary care services despite living in the county. They may visit the unit in order to receive assistance. It could be someone who is unable to go to the location of services but wishes to receive mental health care in their neighborhood.
There are no costs for the walk-in service. The unit, which received some support from the United Way, is staffed by employees of each partner.
According to Doxtator, the goal is to lower barriers to services, especially in remote locations where transportation may be an issue, and offer a variety of forms of assistance under one roof.
CMHA’s mental health first response team member Jennifer Peck, a nurse, stated, “So far, we’ve been very welcomed into the communities.” “So far, every service has been accessed.”
She stated, “I’m seeing anyone looking for mental health support,” which includes guidance through the system of care. “I have also offered some crisis assistance.”
The unit has an entrance and waiting area for the center, a staff restroom, a nurse practitioner clinic, and a separate room for mental health and withdrawal treatment services. For people with accessibility concerns, there is a lift as well.
The squad also includes a driver, and on November 9, a CMHA housing case manager was present at a routine stop on the Golden Mile in Sarnia. Every week, the unit also makes a weekly visit to the John Street location of the Inn of the Good Shepherd.
The East Lambton Community Complex in Watford, the Alvinston Community Complex and Arena, the Thedford’s Community Complex and Fire Hall, Kettle, and Stony Point are among the locations outside of Sarnia.
According to Peck, “the bus is going to where the care is needed,” which is the whole idea.
This includes those who don’t have a way to get to services and reside in motels along Sarnia’s Golden Mile.
“Giving care on a bus is undoubtedly a different experience, but it’s good to help those who are in need but are unable to access it,” Peck remarked.
According to Peck, one goal is to offer a substitute for visiting the hospital emergency room.
According to Doxtator, “community preventative treatment improves people’s quality of life.”
Additionally, a mobile unit is active in Chatham, Kent. Chatham-Kent Community Health Centers, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, and Chatham-Kent EMS are the partners of CMHA in that area.