Great Learning and Networking at Open Minds Mental Health Symposium

October 06, 2011
Dr. Karen DeFreitas
Dr.Klassen, Dr. Mildon and Dr. Dawe
The Open Minds Mental Health Symposium at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) welcomed participants from healthcare, education, justice, community agencies, patients and loved ones who were eager to learn more about mental health research and innovation.

“Mental health awareness and education are so important and Ontario Shores was honoured to host one of the Open Minds symposia,” says Dr. Barbara Mildon, Vice-President, Professional Practice and Research and Chief Nurse Executive.  “Ontario Shores was pleased to bring so many people together with a common interest in mental health to learn about new approaches, ask questions and engage in dialogue with the speakers and other participants.” 

The symposium featured a variety of dynamic presentations that focused on adolescent mental health, responding to mental health crises in the community and mental health research.  Speakers from Ontario Shores included Dr. Ian Dawe, Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Phil Klassen, Vice-President, Medical Affairs, Cynthia Weaver, Administrative Director, Adolescents and Dual Diagnosis Service, Anastasia Kalim, Clinical Manager, Adolescent Services as well as representatives from Durham Regional Police Service and Durham Mental Health Services.

The symposium included a presentation about the Mental Health Support Unit (MHSU) in Durham Region.  Ontario Shores, Durham Regional Police Service and Durham Mental Health Services work in partnership to provide a response team trained to manage mental health situations in an emergency situation. The MHSU consists of a plain-clothes police officer, a mental health nurse and support crisis staff. They respond to police officers’ requests for assistance with situations requiring skilled mental health interventions.

The unit meets the mental health needs of those in the community suffering from mental illness who come into contact with police. The MHSU works to resolve the immediate issue then ensures the individual requiring care receives the help he or she needs.

“Since its inception, the MHSU has responded to more than 2,000 calls in the community and provided countless telephone consultations,” says Kalim.  “The team is able to provide immediate support and therefore significantly reduce the demand on hospital emergency rooms.” 

Open Minds symposia were held across the country by Healthy Minds Canada, a charitable organization that funds research projects and hosts workshops to share the outcomes of mental health and addiction research.  

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 4001