Toronto, January 22, 2016 - Yesterday, CAMH Education and Bell Canada held a launch event for the new Psychiatry in Primary Care toolkit, as part of the Portico Network. The event showcased the new mobile app and free online resource for the book, Psychiatry in Primary Care, which was developed in 2011 by experts across Canada and CAMH.
“Most Canadians access healthcare exclusively through a primary care setting, be it a physician’s office or a family health team,” said Dr. David Goldbloom, co-editor of Psychiatry in Primary Care and Senior Medical Advisor at CAMH. “As demand for specialized mental health services continues to outstrip supply, we need practical and effective ways to better equip primary care professionals to treat mental illness in their daily practice.”
Dr. Goldbloom and Nancy McNaughton, Simulation Specialist at CAMH, perform a live demo of how clinicians can use the Psychiatry in Primary Care tool.
Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH, said it begins with an integration of mental and physical healthcare throughout the system, and a need to address the gap in access to mental health services. “Mental health is complicated, and primary care providers need help. That’s where Portico and a new app for primary care practitioners come in,” she explained. “With the right tools, resources and expert support – delivered with the latest technology – primary care providers can help close the gap.”
As part of the Portico Network, the app has been designed to provide primary care professionals with reliable assessment and intervention tools to help them support Canadians with mental health and substance use disorders. Healthcare practitioners can run sessions with patients using assessments, screening tools and interview guides, or search more in-depth information on Portico before seeing a patient.
Event spokespeople pose for a photo at the Portico Network launch event.
(L to R): Dr. Ivan Silver, VP of CAMH Education; Darrell Gregersen, President of CAMH Foundation; Nancy McNaughton, Senior Simulation Specialist, CAMH; Dr. David Goldbloom, Senior Medical Advisor, CAMH; Mary Deacon, Chair, Bell Let’s Talk; Amy Restoule, Social Worker, Sudbury East Community Health Centre; Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO, CAMH; Ann Douglas, Author, Patient, Family Member and Member of Portico’s National Advisory Board; and Dr. Peter Selby, Director of Medical Education at CAMH.
Amy Restoule, a Social Worker with the Sudbury East Community Health Centre says the real challenge for her and her team is one of access. “Many of our patients live at least an hour away from the nearest town and they don’t always have the means to travel,” she explained. “As a care provider, I want to help patients where they feel comfortable and without the added strain of travel.”
For Amy, resources on the Portico Network are a means to this end. “I have seen first-hand that if care providers like me are supported with practical tools and skill building opportunities, we are capable of managing increasingly complex cases within our communities,” she added.
Lawrie Korec, Communications Coordinator at CAMH Education, demonstrates the new Psychiatry and Primary Care app to colleagues.
The mobile app and launch of the Portico Network have all been made possible by the funding and support that Bell has provided. “Today is an important day for mental health,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Bell is proud to bring our expertise and knowledge working in partnership with the CAMH Education team to create a dynamic and collaborative online network that provides trustworthy information and helps to improve practice.”
Dr. Ivan Silver, VP of CAMH Education took a few moments to thank all of those involved in the development of the Portico Network and the new Psychiatry in Primary Care toolkit. “I want to make special mention of our collaborators and partners,” he said. “The Portico team at CAMH; Bell Web Services who helped us create a platform to share evidence-based resources with Canadians; Bell Let’s Talk who has been with us from the very beginning and whose generous support made today’s announcement possible; and the Slaight Family Foundation for its support in the creation of this mobile application.”