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Lakeridge mental health centre gets support from Bell

$20,000 grant from Let’s Talk Community Fund will go towards increasing outreach and resources for staff

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

With Bell Let’s Talk Day rolling onto our computers once again, the Lakeridge Health Foundation has received a $20,000 grant from Bell.

The funds come from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund, and will go towards Lakeridge Health – Oshawa’s mental health urgent care clinic to provide more support to clinic staff, as well as increasing outreach.

The clinic provides next day, mental health care to individuals who are 19 or older with non-life threatening conditions who enter the emergency room.

The clinic is open Monday to Friday, and is led by mental health nurse Valerie Parsons.

In 2019 the clinic saw almost 800 patients who were consulted by nurses in person, given follow-up by phone and were connected with community resources.

“We are so grateful to Bell Let’s Talk for this generous grant,” said Lakeridge Health Foundation CEO Yves Gadler in a press release. “Investments like these enable the Oshawa Hospital to continue providing personalized care to patients and improve their experience, particularly those with mental health concerns.”

Speaking with The Oshawa Express, chief of psychiatry and medical director of mental health at Lakeridge Health Neeraj Bajaj said he’s they’re very excited to receive the money.

“We are very thankful for [the money received from Bell], it will be going into our urgent care clinic, and will provide front line resources for our patients who are most in need,” he says.

He points out since some of the funds will go towards staffing, it will have a direct impact on improving people’s access to mental health services.

Bajaj says the hospital offers a comprehensive list of programs, such as access to the emergency department, an urgent care clinic, an outpatient department, an inpatient department, and more.

He says Bell Let’s Talk is a “fantastic initiative” which helps to support patients and people who have mental health issues.

“We are very grateful to Bell for increasing awareness, reducing stigma, bringing [mental health forward] as a mainline issue,” he says.