Integrated Care for Mental Health and Substance Use Works!

Check out this new document released by the provincial government on integrated care models for mental health and substance use.

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Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to inform planning around the particular program models that are appropriate for individuals with mental health and substance use problems when integrating primary and mental health and substance use care in the community. Like the varied levels of care needs that individual’s present, a full continuum perspective needs to be considered in service development.

Focus of the Review

This review undertook to identify researched models of integrated care that were found to be specifically effective for individuals with mental health and/or substance use needs, and included primary care services. It further outlines the unique service considerations/elements that need to be addressed when planning services for various subpopulations.

Critical themes supporting integrated primary and MHSU community care

1. No one model will be appropriate for all individuals.

2. Individuals with mental health and substance use problems will experience fluctuations in their overall health and quality of life, requiring a coordinated system that allows them to move in and out of the appropriate model and amount of care based on their needs.

3. The system is flexible and responsive, approaching care from a recovery focus, and involving and empowering individuals to be as involved in their care planning and service delivery as they can at any particular point in time.

What’s less clear from the report is the role of frontline workers in the continuum of care

4. Stigma is a significant barrier to accessible and appropriate services delivery. Stigma is felt in the community and from service providers, and how services are designed may be further stigmatizing.

5. Access to services that are welcoming and appropriate is necessary.

6. Due to the above, many individuals have unmet health needs.

7. The right care provider for the needs.

8. Regardless of the model applied above, the key to the success of any integrated approach is the active involvement of clients/patients as partners in planning and care delivery.


Access the full Report:



IMG_4048Carlene Dingwall

[email protected]