Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is knocking on the door to a better healthcare experience for patients and clients who access our ambulatory and community outpatient mental health services. For the first time, SHN will bring these services together at one central Community Mental Health Centre, to be located at Warden and Eglinton in the heart of Scarborough’s Golden Mile district.

With one of the largest hospital-based mental health and addictions programs in Ontario, and an increased need for care across our health system, SHN is committed to removing barriers and challenges in accessing services. This includes a community-based focus that emphasizes the importance of helping patients access care in the most appropriate setting to achieve their optimal level of well-being.

“One door” approach to care 

“Every year, SHN has more than 50,000 visits for ambulatory and community mental health services. Now imagine ‘one door’ for individuals with mental illness, right in the community – making it easier for them to get integrated services all in the same space. That’s the vision for the SHN Community Mental Health Centre,” said Dr. Elaine Yeung, Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President, Medical, SHN. 

Typically, when it comes to mental health, hospitals have been known as places where people go for acute care needs – like crisis and emergency care, or for admissions. While ambulatory services for therapy, treatments, and other appointments are better based in the community, removed from the stigma of hospital settings. 

“Patients and clients living with mental health illness may seek care and access services more readily and easily when available in the community. This helps them to stay well and reduce the need for emergency or acute hospital care. Our Community Mental Health Centre will also offer collaborative care between services that will further help to improve outcomes and positively impact patient goals,” explained Dr. Yeung. 

The new centre will be part of a larger transformation of SHN’s mental health services. Over the last two years, SHN has moved to a centralized intake model, which better enables our mental health and addictions program to support the over 10,000 patient referrals received each year from primary care providers, specialists, emergency departments, or as part of transitioning from inpatient admission.

“Our ‘one door’ approach starts with this centralized intake process that allows us to receive referrals promptly, and then screen and triage patients to the right service. The development of the new centre will optimize that process, with services and our clinical team coordinated together at one site. Patients being referred will be connected to services as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Ilan Fischler, Medical Director and Chief of Psychiatry, SHN.

Development and next steps

The new mental health centre is a significant investment in the Scarborough community that generous donors have entirely funded as a part of SHN Foundation’s Love, Scarborough campaign. Located in a mid-rise building at 1940 Eglinton Ave. E, the centre will be designed to provide the best possible experience for patients and clients. 

“In addition to delivering exceptional, quality care, it’s our responsibility to provide access to care that meets the diverse needs of our patients and clients. The Community Mental Health Centre will be a welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and highly accessible space. It will offer large windows and natural light; be close to TTC access, including the upcoming Eglinton subway line; and will focus on patient, staff, and neighbourhood safety. We are incredibly excited that the new centre has found its home in the heart of Scarborough,” said Sari Greenwood, Director, Mental Health and Addictions, Oncology and Palliative Care, SHN.

Over the coming months, SHN will continue to keep patients, families, healthcare partners, and community members informed on the creation of our new mental health centre. This includes providing further details on timelines, processes, and structures as this exciting development moves forward here in Scarborough.