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Important Public Health Information – pg 2 Ontario’s ACCESS to Youth Mental Health Starts in Chatham-Kent / CKHA Celebrates its Volunteers/ Youth Input Makes A Difference – pg 3 Healthy Happenings – pg 4 For more information, visit:

“It is really terrible at times. You feel like you’re alone … I had a terrible time with that. But I really want to show other people that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you can get out of this,” shared Chaz, 14. “Mental illness is a serious concern and if you don’t know that you have it, then you can’t take action.” Young people are more likely to experience mental health problems than any other age group but have the least access to treatment. More than 50 per cent of mental health problems begin between the ages of 11 and 25 but services are often designed for younger children and older adults. This is changing in Chatham-Kent, where youth are playing an important role in transforming mental healthcare services by sharing their perspectives, ideas and stories. Chaz shared his own experience of dealing with mental illness. “I think it was about grade 5, I had some serious issues with anxiety and we didn’t really know that it was actually anxiety. I got diagnosed by a doctor and I was honestly really unsure if the rest of my life was going to be like this.” By sharing his story, Chaz hopes others will be encouraged to seek treatment. “I’m living a normal life now. I haven’t had a serious episode for years and it’s not really a part of my life anymore. I want other people to know that if this happens to you, it’s not a permanent problem.”

Someday everybody could look back and say, ‘Wow, these 14-, 15-, and 20-year-olds were the ones who made the difference.’ This year, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) and the Lambton-Kent Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-LK) established a youth advisory council. This small group of volunteers between the ages of 11 and 25 will co-design a new space (both physical and virtual) geared to encompass a variety of youth-friendly mental health services and programs in Chatham-Kent. The council’s first meeting saw members participate in activities such as word association and creating picture collages to explore the emotions and barriers youth face. Council member, Emily, 15, feels the stigma associated with mental illness can hold back those who may need treatment. (continued on page 3)

Spring is always an exciting time of year. The change of season often brings with it a rekindled energy and optimism; a sense that renewal is underway. And in fact, when it comes to mental health services, we are pushing new ground in Chatham-Kent. Last summer we were thrilled to announce our involvement in a $25 million national research program, ACCESS Canada, which is fundamentally shifting the delivery of youth mental health services. As the only site in Ontario, we are at the forefront of transforming the delivery and access to youth mental health services across our country. We are shaping a pan-Canadian youth mental health strategy for other communities to model!

Colin Patey, President & CEO and Brenda Richardson, Chair, Alliance Board of Directors

This leading role for Chatham-Kent did not happen by chance or by accident. This community planted the seeds for this to happen many years ago. A combination of healthcare leadership, exceptional program delivery and the support of organizations like the Rotary Club who identified a need for youth mental health programs and funded them, lead to an approach to mental health services that is simply not available in most communities. Today, our community’s investment in youth mental health is starting to shine on a national scale. A vision nurtured over time is now being realized.

deserves (P. 3). Being part of ACCESS has also been a catalyst for additional funding which supports the 1 in 5 people who will require mental health services in our community.

In this edition of The Alliance, you’ll read how the patient experience is a powerful tool in the process of redesigning our healthcare services. In this case, how the unique voices and perspectives of individuals, ages 11-25, are deciding the future of local youth mental health service delivery in Chatham-Kent.

While this is an exciting time for mental health services, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and innovations in many areas. Take a moment to view Healthy Happenings on P. 4 and you’ll see everything from our continued success in Emergency Department Wait Times, exciting quality-focused initiatives that support those with hip fractures and screening for high risk seniors, as well as initiatives that improve communication within the hospital and across the community.

With mental health week around the corner (May 11-17), we hope you will join us in celebrating the change taking root here in Chatham-Kent. At the same time, we recognize that existing programs at CKHA and in the community, such as those provided by our partners at the Lambton-Kent Canadian Mental Health Association and Chatham-Kent Public Health (P. 2), continue to help make our community a supportive place to access mental health services. This support makes Chatham-Kent a healthier community.

It is inspiring to be part of the transformation of youth mental health services in Canada, which for far too long has not received the attention or funding it so rightly







CKHA is proud to partner with CK Public Health on health promotion and illness prevention.

Important Information about

Public Health

CK Public Health is 1 of 36 health units in Ontario. Our work is guided by the Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA, 1990). The main goal of health units is to provide the 3 Ps, which are:


Lowering the risk of illness to the public by inspecting restaurants, day cares, spas, pools and other public places. Another job is to check for risks and dangers from environmental sources such as animal bites (rabies), mosquitos (West Nile Virus) and ticks (Lyme disease). For those who drink well water, we provide water testing.



Sharing information with schools, workplaces and the community on how to stay healthy (e.g. Health Fairs, Workshops and Presentations). We create and support public policies to keep our community healthy. (e.g. smoking bylaw, tanning bed legislation, bike lanes).

Reducing the spread of illness by monitoring, treating and immunizing against infectious diseases (e.g. flu and school immunization clinics, Sexually Transmitted Infection testing/treatment). We also work to decrease the number of preventable injuries (e.g. road and bike safety, falls prevention in the elderly).

healthy healthy healthy healthy baby brain baby brain The mission of CK Public Health is to build a healthy community. Having a healthy community lowers the demand on other health services (e.g. doctor’s office, hospitals, walk-in clinics). This allows easier access to services for those who need them most.

To help your baby have a healthy brain, visit this interactive website:

To help your baby have a healthy brain, visit this interactive website:

How to Build a Healthy Brain? How can you help your toddler cope with emotions? What foods can help to build a healthy brain? What is play-based learning? How do you build attachment? What does attachment have to do with brain development? The website gives you answers to these questions. Remember: The website is easy to navigate and the videos are fun to watch. It is designed for future parents and for parents of children aged zero to three. It offers inexpensive, ◆ Start Early practical suggestions to support your child’s brain development. ◆ Love Builds Brains

The website has 15 short videos on nutrition, sleep, play, literacy, physical activity, attachment, self-regulation, discipline, stress, etc. The videos show real-life situations that were filmed with families from Ontario. Some videos contain expert commentary on parent-child interactions. The experts offer practical advice for parents, based on proven practices. The website also contains links to useful resources.

Playing Brains The website is◆built aroundBuilds the following key messages: Health Builds Brains Love Builds Brains ◆ Baby’s World Matters ◆

Start Early

Playing Builds Brains

Health Builds Brains

healthy baby

Baby’s World Matters

healthy brain

All of the little things you do every day with your baby impacts your baby’s development. When babies feel secure, they are more able to learn from their environment. Spend time interacting with your baby by talking, singing and responding to their needs. To help your baby have

a healthy brain, visit this interactive website:

This website was developed by the Best Start Resource Centre of Health Nexus, a not-for-profit organization based in Ontario.

How to

healthy Helphealthy our Children Become baby brain

Why do some youths do better than others even when having the odds stacked against them? There are strengths and skills that will help protect them against life’s hard times including:

To help your baby have a healthy brain,

visitone thiscaring interactive • a positive relationship with at least adult (thiswebsite: is the most important) • good social skills

Why are these important and how do they help? They help children become resilient which means: • children have the confidence to navigate their world • children have skills to think outside the box • children have the ability to bounce back from hard times

English colour ad slicks


Things communities can do to ensure Remember: that children have positive outcomes: ◆ Start Early • ensure their basic needs are met ◆ Love Builds Brains • be caring adults • create a safe community/ ◆ Playing Builds Brains

Health Builds Brains • help them build positive connections ◆ Baby’s World Matters neighbourhood

• positive temperament (a person’s emotional and mental ways of being)

healthy baby


healthy brain

with their peers

The Resilience Research Centre uses the metaphor of a tree to help us understand how we can help children be more resilient. Just like a tree can’t survive on its own, (it needs certain things from its environment to grow healthy and strong, like water and light) children depend on their environment to grow healthy and strong too. They need strong roots that are developed through healthy relationships. Everyone has a role to play in making sure our youth in ChathamKent have positive outcomes. What are some ways you can help build resiliency in youth?

To help your baby have a healthy brain, visit this interactive website:

Ontario’s ACCESS to Youth Mental Health Starts in Chatham-Kent

CKHA Celebrates its Volunteers Volunteering is an important means for all ages to bring about positive change in society – in this case, our community hospital. CKHA celebrates over 400 volunteers with over 26,000 hours of service in over 40 departments, two gift shops and four daily shifts at the information desk. Daily, we see how volunteers positively affect our patients, families, visitors, staff and physicians. A sincere thank you to all our volunteers for your insight, commitment and compassion. We all benefit!

Chatham-Kent is quickly becoming a community of interest for many health and social sector leaders, regionally, locally and nationally. This recognition is earned as a result of our collective, collaborative approach to developing a youth mental health strategy that crosses the entire continuum of care. Last summer, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) and the Lambton-Kent branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-LK) announced their role as the only Ontario site involved in the ACCESS Canada Network. Lead out of McGill University, the initiative aims to transform the delivery of youth mental health services across Canada, and leading the pack is Chatham-Kent. The local momentum really started to accelerate in January, when a meeting was held with organizations including children’s and adult sector mental health, education leaders, justice and community social services. According to Paula Reaume-Zimmer, Integrated Director of Operations at CKHA and CMHA, it was an inspiring meeting. “Every single organization said that they were committed to the successful transformation of youth mental health in Chatham-Kent. More impressive was that no one said they would only be able to participate if they received new funds to support their efforts. That is a powerful message; it signifies that this community is prepared to reconsider how we use our resources to support better access to mental health services for our younger residents.” It is well known that by engaging youth sooner, there is an opportunity to change the trajectory of their mental illness. When youth are armed with knowledge and skills they improve their ability to respond to life pressures and can change the course of something that, if left untreated, may become a debilitating mental illness. It was this very reason that made the involvement of youth a critical element to this new approach. “Youth know what appeals to and works best for them, so it’s critical that we use their voices and experiences to shape youth mental health services,” added Reaume-Zimmer. To ensure that the perspective of youth is used to help to inform and design the services, the first youth advisory meeting was held in early March. Similar to the first sessions with providers, it was an engaging and motivating session that immediately signified a new way of approaching youth mental health in Chatham-Kent (see P. 1 for more details). The overall goal of this initiative is to create a future that removes barriers and improves access to services that positively impact the mental health of youth populations. While early in its planning, Chatham-Kent is well positioned to successfully deliver on these goals. “We’re excited about how far we’ve come and look forward to bringing more updates to the community over the coming months,” concluded Reaume-Zimmer.

Youth Input Makes A Difference (continued from page 1)

“I know a lot of people who suffer from mental illnesses and they’re scared to say anything, because most people automatically associate a mental illness with being crazy and having to be locked up in an institution.” Emily continued, “Most people don’t realize it’s actually a sickness and the person who is experiencing it, doesn’t like it just as much as the person who is witnessing it.” Broad themes such as a culture of openness, support and collaboration to overcome mental health issues were discussed. The facility’s physical design and atmosphere was an important factor considered for youth to feel safe and welcomed. Emily emphasized that hospitals are not always the best option when dealing with mental health issues. “It’s scary, and that doesn’t sound appealing if that were to happen to me. But something like a technological approach or going to a safe space with other people who I can talk about it with, that sounds a lot more comforting versus having to get assessed in an emergency room.” Interacting with one another in a shared space will give youth the opportunity to discuss different approaches for confronting mental illness. Emily explained that talking with a counsellor helped her overcome anxiety, but communicating with other youth would provide unique benefits. “Being able to talk with somebody who has an experience with your feelings would help. You could talk it out and talk about how they overcame it or strategies they used.” Sharing stories and ideas among peers will give focus to providing treatment and services that are based on the experiences of youth. Chaz echoed the importance of creating a supportive environment where youth can talk to one another about mental health issues. “I think that this space will be really great because we can talk to people who are going through similar things and situations and how they felt about it. There are many other people who are feeling the same things as you and it’s really just a great feeling to know that you’re not alone.”

“I want to see the ball keep rolling to really bring awareness to mental illness and eliminate the stigma eventually.” Transforming youth mental healthcare will improve engagement and awareness, leading to early intervention. When mental health disorders are diagnosed early, the chances of a lifelong illness decrease and youth are better equipped to handle life’s challenges. Members of the youth advisory council will work in collaboration with other groups across Canada as champions for youth mental health. “I want to see the ball keep rolling to really bring awareness to mental illness and eliminate the stigma eventually. It will really be nice to see if spaces like this pop-up across North America, because it’s a serious issue facing society right now,” said Chaz. The open forum of the council encourages transparent discussions and helps eliminate the stigma associated with mental health, bringing forth ideas for change. Emily concluded, “It’s neat to think that it’s all youth getting involved, so it’s not necessarily doctors and nurses and everybody else changing it. Someday everybody could look back and say ‘Wow these 14-, 15-, and 20-year-olds were the ones who made the difference.’”









GAINING TRACTION AND LEAN ING FORWARD FOR RESULTS CKHA has implemented 15 LEAN projects to enhance patient safety and quality. These improvements have inspired better patient care, improved processes and saved over $12,500 in supplies.

CKHA Leads in Hip Fracture Patients Returning to Their Home


of hip fracture patients who were admitted for inpatient rehabilitation at CKHA were able to return to their home or retirement home after rehabilitation.

OCULYS, a real-time bed management tool, continues to evolve with the addition of a housekeeping solution. Now, housekeepers can be notified when a patient is discharged and the empty bed can be cleaned. When done, an immediate notification of bed readiness to receive the next patient can be viewed by everyone throughout the organization.




With innovative software, CKHA and MediaMed Technologies have partnered to identify patients that have multiple visits to CKHA’s Emergency Department and hospital inpatient units in real-time. This allows for a proactive and collaborative response by CKHA and its community partners to better manage their care.



CKHA is piloting a new screening tool to help identify all high-risk elderly patients (ages 75+) who present at the Emergency Department. The project goal is to properly identify and assess these seniors, deliver effective and efficient geriatric resources, and develop rehabilitative care plans.

At CKHA, we are very proud of the work we do and we believe that programs should be recognized when they have a positive effect in our community. These are just a few examples that show how working together can make our community a healthier one for all of us.

WHAT’S BEHIND OUR NEW WEBSITE? YOU! CKHA’s new website has been completely redesigned with simplicity, ease of use and accessibility in mind. More user-friendly and content rich — it’s all about you!

77% VACCINATED The overall vaccination rate of CKHA staff, physicians and volunteers who decided to get the flu shot and not spread the flu to others, was 77% during the 2014/15 influenza season.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE CKHA leveraged the Ontario Telemedicine Network’s (OTN) Guest Links platform to videoconference with a family member across provincial boundaries. OTN is widely used at CKHA, but this is the first time CKHA has been able to securely connect a family regardless of where they live in Canada. A great tool to support patient and family centred care, CKHA is excited to be able to include family members in patient consultations from virtually anywhere.


Please consider a donation to the Foundation of CKHA. Call 519-436-2538 or visit to make a gift in support of local healthcare today.

CKHA performs approximately 2/3 better than the provincial average of 29 hours for lengthof-stay in the Emergency Department for someone who is admitted. Another top 10 performance is the time it takes to transfer them from the ED to the unit once the decision to admit has been made.

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OF STAFF Would recommend CKHA to friends and family who require care!

The Alliance - Spring 2015  
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