Connecting People in Central Algoma with the Mental Health and Addictions Supports

Through collaborative partnerships among community and regional agencies, the Central Algoma Mental Health and Addictions System Table is working to ensure people living with mental health and addiction issues have greater access to resources and supports they may need.

Earlier today, during a virtual knowledge exchange forum, Central Algoma health care providers spoke to new programs and services that are now available for people in need.

“This unique virtual event was all about getting community partners together to learn from one another with the goal of understanding how we can work together to ensure people living with mental health and addiction issues are able to receive the services that best meet their needs,” said Annette Katajamaki, Chair of the Central Algoma Mental Health and Addictions System Table and Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association- Sault Ste. Marie Branch. “Increasing access to mental health and addictions services is a priority for the Central Algoma Mental Health and Addictions System Table.”

New mental health and addiction programs shared during the virtual forum include:

Addiction Medicine Consult Team

A new program at the Sault Area Hospital, this is a collaborative model between hospital and community partners that provides consultation and expert advice in treating substance use; improving patient insight and readiness to change; and support for substance use withdrawal, maintenance and replacement therapies. Care is based on the principles of compassion, social justice and evidence-based treatment.

Safe Beds Program

Four new Mental Health and Justice Safe Beds co-located at Sault Area Hospital intended to serve people who are in immediate contact with the police. Safe beds are specifically intended to divert people in a mental health and/or addictions crisis from incarceration, the justice system, &/or unnecessary hospitalization by providing them with voluntary community crisis accommodation & support.

Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team

This team is a partnership between the police and Sault Area Hospital.  It pairs a police officer with a mental health specialist such as a crisis service worker to quickly respond to emergency calls involving mental health and/or addiction issues or concerns. This program supports Crisis Service Workers to provide crisis response with police from 12:00pm – 10:00pm, 7 days per week and one Transitional Case Manager, that works Monday – Friday, to provide transitional case management for individuals seen through this service.

Peer Support Service in the Emergency Department (ED)

This service ensures that individuals with mental health and addictions issues presenting to the ED are supported by someone with lived experience, providing a safe and compassionate response to their crisis.  The program will assist with appropriate referrals to outpatient/community treatment, decrease crisis situations within the ED and promote a sense of respect and empowerment for individuals living with mental health and addiction issues.

Mental Health and Justice Supportive Housing

This program supports people being released from correctional facilities (on remand or detained), and people who are on diversion plans in the mental health courts who could likely be stabilized if they had housing. Rent supplements are provided in order to house people in safe, affordable and accessible housing and those clients are matched with a case manager who supports their ongoing recover in the community.

Community Hub: In response to the significant and ongoing issue of substance use and incidents of overdose in the region, leading community agencies in mental health, addiction, primary care and Indigenous health care are working together to launch a harm reduction and treatment hub. The goal is to create a multi-agency location that offers a “wraparound approach” where providers can collectively offer individuals: harm reduction care, assessments, clinical treatment, primary care, referrals, peer support, education, plus other services.


The Central Algoma Mental Health and Addictions System Table plays a strategic role in the planning, development and coordination of the local mental health and addictions system through collaboration with community partners, clients, and families.  Members include:

    • Algoma Family Services
    • Batchewana First Nation
    • Breton House/A New Link
    • Canadian Mental Health Association-Sault Ste. Marie Branch/Algoma Public Health
    • District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services
    • Ken Brown Recovery Home
    • Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services
    • Phoenix Rising
    • Sault Area Hospital
    • Women In Crisis
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