The Town of Bonnyville will help fund a Teen Mental Health Clinic to the tune of $25,000 per year, on a two-year commitment. The money will aid in the start-up costs of getting the clinic going, as well as, the salary for a “navigator” position. The navigator’s role will be to communicate between the existent mental health services in the community and help direct patients on a course of treatment. Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski says the clinic will expand on the services that are provided in the town and fill gaps in the treatment process.
“There’s so many little things that are being done,” Mayor Sobolewski explains between the hospital, schools, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Mental Health, and FCSS, there’s a missing element in communication. “There’s no central coordinated effort to have a place to treat the adolescents.” With the need for the clinic present, the Town matched the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville’s funding of $25,000 a year for two years.
Nurse Practitioner, and project lead, Chantal Vallee, explains the role of the clinic, “the teens would have had some assessments done before coming to the clinic. So, they would be assessed by AHS Mental Health Services or counselors at the schools, as appropriate to be seen at the clinic and then booked into the clinic. As a team we would look into the case and discuss what we need to do from a medical perspective, what needs to happen from an accounting perspective and what needs to happen from a treatment perspective. We would then come together with a plan for care for this particular teen.” From there Vallee says there would be a lot of follow-ups with the patient, “from there we may hand them back to their family physician for ongoing management. If they don’t have a family physician, maybe hook them up with one or keep seeing them in the clinic. It addresses all the teens, not only the ones that have family physicians.”
The hope is to have the clinic open by late-summer, but there are still a lot of steps to complete; including finding an appropriate space, training and recruiting the navigator position.