Funding services for 24/7 Mental Health Support for the Stollery Children's Hospital
Kurling for Kids has committed our first year of funding to be added to the 5 year project for Mental Health Support for the Stollery Children's Hospital. This project is an overall 5 year commitment of $6.5 million from other donors. As our first year of fundraising will have unknown results, we have chosen to dedicate all funds raised by the Edmonton region of K4K to this very deserving project.
To help close some of the gaps that exist when it comes to accessing vital child and adolescent mental health care, SCH have launched a five-year, $6.5 million fundraising campaign to bring integrated, clinical mental health services to the Stollery Emergency department.
This expanded care model will eventually deliver round-the-clock, expert pediatric mental health services in the moment of crisis and will include specialized bedside support for kids and adolescents who present with mental health concerns.
For mental health service providers to get a firm understanding of the type of care required, they must meet directly with children and youth, and their family members. The emergency room is not an ideal location.
Hospital emergency teams want to provide quieter, calmer and more private alternatives for those patients and families that don’t require immediate medical attention: comprehensive assessments, potential treatment and connections to various community services.
The Stollery Emergency currently responds to as many as 2,300 adolescent mental health concerns a year. This number is currently on the rise with COVID. From September on the Stollery ER has seen 30-40% more mental health patients coming into the Stollery. To further address this need and to help reduce current wait times, therapists and nurses will provide patients and families with:
- 24/7 access to clinical emergency mental health services at the Stollery Emergency and through a crisis phone line service
- On-site walk-in clinic at the Walter C. Mackenzie Stollery site for kids and youth who present as low risk as an alternative to waiting for an emergency department assessment
Unique to northern Alberta, the Stollery Emergency will have:
- Highly-trained child psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and social workers working alongside emergency physicians and clinical support staff to provide mental health examinations and risk assessments
- A specialized team who works with patients and families after a suicide attempt to make sure children and youth have access to available community supports before being discharged
- The ability to attract and retain future generations of skilled child and adolescent psychiatrists and mental health experts
Summary of the reasons that clients are seen by all Mental Health Staff
- Severe suicide attempts requiring hospitalization
- Significant aggression and intention to harm others
- Substance Use Disorder- Stimulants, Opiates, Cannabis, Alcohol
- Psychiatric Diagnosis that are unmanaged: Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Developmental/Intellectual Delay, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome / In Utero Neuro Toxic Exposure
- Sexual Exploitation
- Trauma and Attachment Disorder often in the care of Children’s Services
- The Children’s Mental Health Team continues to be challenged with space issues. We are currently working with Space Management to locate space for the New Psychiatry Clinic which would house the RN
- Currently working with Space Management to locate space for the new Mental Health Walk-In Clinic which would house the Mental Health Therapist and Social Worker.
Anecdotes that demonstrate the value of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation funding for youth and their families
Client A: In the one month before referral, Client A had five visits to the Emergency Department and she and her family made daily phones calls to multiple community crisis lines (i.e. 211, AHS Mental Health 3 Crisis Team, Calgary Distress Line, Edmonton Distress Line and the Edmonton Police Service).
Since becoming involved with the Mental Health Therapist funded by the Foundation, she has had only one presentation to the Emergency Department and no calls to the various crisis lines. The one Emergency Department visit was brief and resulted in the Emergency Department physician contacting the Mental Health Therapist for recommendations. Client A was quickly discharged and returned home with the ongoing support of the Mental Health Therapist.
Client B: In the two months before referral, Client B had 19 visits to the Emergency Department and had a four-week inpatient stay. Since the team has been involved, she has remained out of the Emergency Department for a four-week period. Client B has multiple daily contact by the Mental Health Therapist. Additionally, the Mental Health Therapist has engaged multiple stakeholders to collaborate on her care, including Children’s Services (specifically the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Unit), Edmonton Police Service (EPS), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Chimo Housing Supports, Family Supports for Children with Disabilities and Persons with Developmental Disabilities.
Client B is under the guardianship of Children’s Services and, unfortunately, lost her stable housing placement. Currently our goal is to continue to decrease the number of presentations to the Emergency Department and improve her functionality. We have worked with EMS and EPS to input a specialized treatment protocol and safety plan for Client B with the Edmonton Medical Services and Edmonton Police Services and as a result they have reduced the number of times they have had to use the Mental Health Act to apprehend her. To date, Client B has visited the Emergency Department only a few times only because medical intervention was needed.