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Lakeridge, Durham Mental Health join forces

Uniting for better access to mental health, addictions services

Lakeridge Health and Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS) are joining forces to create a more accessible mental health and addictions system.

The voluntary integration between the two organizations will create a more connected community system across Durham Region, says Lakeridge Health.

According to a Lakeridge health press release, as Durham’s population grows, there has been a dramatic rise in people admitted to hospital for mental health care. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the last 10 years.

“By bringing together the complementary mental health and addictions services of both organizations, it will be easier for people to access the services that they need in their own communities,” says Sharon Cochran, board chair at Lakeridge Health. “This innovative partnership will create one coordinated mental health and addictions system that provides caring and supportive care to people whether they are in the hospital, the community or a residential setting.”

Over the first half of 2020, DMHS and Lakeridge Health conducted a due diligence process to determine the benefits and risks of an integration. Input from more than 70 community agencies offered compelling evidence that a voluntary integration would bring significant benefits to clients, the community, and the overall health system.

The 2,000 clients who are currently served by both organizations will benefit from having mental health and addictions support available through one integrated service.

“Today, individuals, families and service providers often struggle to navigate the mental health and addictions system to get connected to needed services,” says Lakeridge Health Interim President and CEO Susan deRyk. “Building on the long-standing partnership between Durham Mental Health Services and Lakeridge Health, this enhanced system will mean one care team, one care plan and more comprehensive community supports for each person.”

According to the press release, over the coming months, DMHS CEO Rob Adams will continue to play a “pivotal leadership role” through the transition of the integration.

After 30 years of growing DMHS into a leading and influential community mental health organization, Adams will step down once the amalgamation process is complete, “paving the way for the new mental health and addictions system in Durham Region.”