New Stepped Care Pilot Aims to Bridge Gaps in Mental Health Services – A Series
In Downtown East Toronto, there are approximately 16,500 individuals who live with mental health and addiction-related conditions. The partners at Downtown East Toronto Ontario Health Team (DET OHT) spend $88.7 million annually to provide care for them. However, accessibility gaps for patients/clients still exist.
The DET OHT is addressing this need by developing a stepped care model. This model prioritizes the most effective and least resource-intensive treatment as the initial step, and only recommends a 'step up' to specialist services when necessary, depending on the level of patient distress or need. The care model is focusing on the needs of patients/clients experiencing mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
The 'Stepped Care Pilot' is a collaborative effort involving community members with lived experience and a diverse group of care providers, including family physicians, a mental health navigator, and community mental health providers.
To fully explore all aspects and perspectives of this change initiative, we will present this conversation in a series. Part one will introduce the barriers to mental health and purpose of the Stepped Care Pilot. Subsequent features will explore the full process of implementing the stepped care model. It will also discuss its impact on patients' mental health care experience, family doctors' commitment to delivering timely and suitable care, and the positive future outlook for mental health care in Ontario.