The new website is an off-shoot of eMentalhealth.ca, an initiative developed by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. However, the new site is not restricted to paediatrics; it gives primary care practitioners in Ottawa tools to help treat mental illness at all life stages, such as:
- Point-of-care guides for various mental health conditions
- Screening tools
- A services directory to help family physicians refer their patients
- Handouts for patients and their families
“In particular, the new website showcases a new decision support tool for managing depression and antidepressants,” explained Simon Hatcher, Vice-Chair of Research for the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine, and a practicing psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and The Ottawa Hospital. “The tool will help prescribers and their patients select an evidence-based treatment pathway that is often not easily available to non-specialists.”
The launch of the website is the first step in creating a virtual mental health clinic. “The clinic is part of our Vision 2020 initiative, which aims to reduce rates of suicide and suicidal behaviour in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) by 20% by year 2020,” said Mireille St-Jean of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital.
The virtual mental health clinic will offer services such as online e-therapies with the option of e-health coaches, a psychiatrist available to answer telephone queries from primary care workers, and a referral system to help brokers advocate for patient and navigate the complex health care system.
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