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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH Drop-in Bridging Service building on early success

By Sean O'Malley

In just over two months, the new CAMH Drop-in Bri​dging Service at 250 College has already become a CAMH success story.

“We’ve been very pleased to see the growth in the number of inpatients being referred to us,” says Natalie Quick, Manager of Access CAMH and Ambulatory Services in the Acute Care Program.

“We’ve been doing daily visits to some of the inpatient units and meeting clients before discharge and helping inform them about the services our clinic offers,” says Natalie. “That’s helped them become more confident in coming to us for support after discharge.”


The purpose of the Bridging Service is two-fold: to ease congestion at the Emergency Department, and to assist newly discharged clients in reintegrating into their community.


At the Emergency Department, clients who arrive with non-urgent needs can be sent to the Bridging Service just down the hall.  For example, someone with a new prescription who does not have a family doctor and needs it filled.


In most cases, clients referred from the ED to the Bridging Service are seen within 30 minutes, allowing staff at the ED to focus on clients with more urgent and complex care needs.​

CAMH ED Clinical Head Dr. Brittany Poynter and Manager of Access CAMH and Ambulatory Services in the Acute Care Program Natalie Quick are all smiles about how the new drop-in bridging clinic is helping clients get timely care.

For inpatients preparing for discharge, the Bridging Service is a place they can go to without an appointment anytime during its current operating hours between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.


One of the goals of the service was to reduce the rate of readmission of inpatients to CAMH.  At the time the clinic opened in November, that readmission rate was 25 per cent.


In the first full month that the clinic was operational in December, that rate was reduced by more than half, to 11 per cent.


“I’ve heard real satisfaction from CAMH staff being able to tell their clients that they can go to the Bridging Service the day after they are discharged and get timely care,” says Natalie. “It helps clients avoid falling through the cracks.  Many times they leave with a discharge plan, but they are under a lot of stress, have difficulty making appointments, and are sometimes adjusting to new medications.  It’s a stable place for clients who don’t have to worry about an appointment time, so it takes away some of those barriers to care.”

Currently, the Bridging Service includes a psychiatrist, social worker, registered nurse and occupational therapist.

Since its inception, the Bridging Service has had over 600 visits from more than 300 unique clients.

Published on January 30, 2018

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