Saturday , 8 August 2020

Update on Mental Health Navigator

Position works with children & adolescent aged 4-18 years

Bonnyville Town Council received an update from the Bonnyville Child & Adolescent Mental Health Clinic Navigator Alena Thompson at Tuesday’s Council Meeting. Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, says he is proud of the work the Navigator has accomplish since taking the position on June 7th, 2016.

“I really want to celebrate, this is the work that the Town and the MD has partnered together [to bring to the residents]. It’s another one of those regional initiatives,” Mayor Sobolewski says the Town and the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville discovered a need for the clinic and the navigator position after many consultations with doctors, mental health care workers, schools, and residents of the community. “We fronted the funds for the position of the Navigator. This program has been phenomenally successful.”

Thompson, a registered nurse, reports that has received 31 referral from local physicians, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Mental Health & Addictions services, local schools, and Bonnyville Health Centre. From those referrals 21 children were seen at the Tuesday clinic, where Thompson reports there were 56 appointments with children and adolescents aged 4-18 years old. In a letter to Council, Thompson states, “at these appointments are one of our Doctors or Nurse Practitioners, the AHS Mental Health therapist an a representative from the schools. We work along side one another with the child and family to clarify information, initiate treatment, monitor medications, and outcomes and refer to other agencies that would be helpful.”

“The push ultimately, is to make sure AHS funds this program,” Mayor Sobolewski states that he believes AHS that how fast the clinic is taking off and how important it is to the region, “Kudos to the group and the two municipalities with our partners the school districts. This is what we can do, when we put our heads together and think regionally.”

Thank you to Council for having the foresight to be able to approve this; you’re money in action! – Gene Sobolewski Mayor of Bonnyville

In Thompson’s letter to Council she states that during the second quarter of operations the clinic will make improvements by address some gaps. “This includes, family support, behaviour management, strategies education, and options for summer activities for the children who cannot cope in traditional summer camps.”

The Navigator’s position is vital in the operations of the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Clinic in coordinating the children with the caregivers at appointments, get them the information they need to follow through with treatments and recommendations and connect them to other supporters and researchers they will need to achieve their best possible mental health.

About Jena Colbourne