Mental Health Crisis Response Centre launched

$14.7 million facility to care for as many as 10,000 individuals a year

The ground breaking ceremony was performed by Dr. Murray Enns, Dr. Catherine Cook, Chris Summerville, Theresa Oswald and Arlene Wilgosh.
The ground breaking ceremony was performed by Dr. Murray Enns, Dr. Catherine Cook, Chris Summerville, Theresa Oswald and Arlene Wilgosh.
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About the Crisis Response Centre

Architectural drawing of the Crisis Response Centre

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Winnipeggers experiencing a mental health crisis will soon be able to access treatment at a new 24-hour community crisis response centre.

Construction has begun on the $14.7 million Community Mental Health Crisis Response Centre, which is set to open in the fall of 2012 at the west end of the Health Sciences Centre campus.

About 10,000 people in mental distress seek care at hospital Emergency departments across the city every year, according to Carolyn Strutt, Director of Mental Health with the Winnipeg Health Region. The new facility will reduce the pressure on these departments and enhance the delivery of appropriate assistance to those in need, she said.
“Emergency rooms are set up to treat physical ailments first,” said Strutt. “A person who is suffering from an emotional crisis will often have to wait for hours to be seen and that is often counterproductive to dealing with the mental health crisis.  Emergency rooms, by their very busy nature, are also not a quiet place to work through a mental health crisis.”

Once open, the 27,370 sq. ft., two-storey building will offer walk-in service to mental health assessment, treatment and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, seven days a week, provided by clinicians with mental health expertise.

“Close to 85 per cent of people who present to an emergency room in a crisis are not admitted to the hospital,” said Strutt. “The new Crisis Response Centre will help those who need timely intervention, and it is close enough to the Health Sciences Centre in the event someone does need to be admitted to hospital.”

The official groundbreaking for the new centre took place today, with Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald taking part in the honours. She was joined by Arlene Wilgosh, President & CEO, Winnipeg Health Region, Dr. Murray Enns, Medical Director of the Region’s Adult Mental Health program, and Chris Summerville, Executive Director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.

“As many as one in four Manitobans experience mental health issues during their lifetime,” said Oswald. “We’ve talked to those people and their families and they told us how important it is to have a dedicated facility to help them, which will also take the pressure off the emergency rooms,” she said.

Summerville expects the results of the Centre’s services and links to community support services will have a positive result for individuals needing mental health treatment.

“The Mental Health Crisis Response Centre offers opportunity for more compassionate, expedient and effective mental health support for individuals who need more immediate care,” said Summerville.

The new Crisis Response Centre will also be home base to the Adult Mobile Crisis Service, which currently provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to people experiencing emotional or mental health crises. The Mobile Crisis Service treats approximately 10,000 adults a year, on top of the 10,000 people going to emergency departments in all six of Winnipeg’s hospitals. Children under the age of 18 are treated at Children’s Hospital.

“The new CRC will be a Centre of Excellence in that it will have research and teaching opportunities, on top of its function in responding to mental health crises 24 hours a day,” said Strutt.

About the Crisis Response Centre

The Crisis Response Centre is designed for adults who are experiencing:

  • Personal distress and who are at risk of harm associated with the immediate crisis, including suicide.
  • Symptoms of a mental health condition which requires assessment and treatment.
  • Circumstances which require de-escalation to prevent relapses.
  • Mental health problems that if dealt with, may prevent hospitalization.
  • Emotional trauma, where assessment, crisis intervention and links to longer-term services can be made.
  • Difficulty obtaining on-going services after a crisis.
  • Difficulty obtaining help after hours when mental health service providers are unavailable.

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