The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of Grey Bruce is reflecting on the accomplishments made in 2021 and looking ahead to 2022.
CMHA Chief Executive Officer Clark MacFarlane says looking back on 2021, some of their big accomplishments included helping distribute hundreds of frozen meals to individuals in need, as well as be able to stay open throughout Covid and provide service, though limited.
“From an organizational perspective, we came into being in 2018 through an amalgamation of G&B House, Hope Grey Bruce and the Legacy CMHA. Through this whole pandemic, we have continued on with our integration work because one of the reasons for that integration was to improve service and access to services in Grey Bruce and we have been able to do that through the pandemic,” says MacFarlane.
MacFarlane adds they were able to establish a single number to access all of their services earlier this year.
Community members can now access all 16 CMHA Grey Bruce locations and programs at 519-371-3642 or toll-free at 1-888-451-CMHA (2642).
MacFarlane says some of the challenges the CMHA faced during 2021, was the stress that came along with helping the community while operating during the pandemic.
“So maintaining morale and spirits and people’s resilience has certainly been a challenge for everyone,” says MacFarlane.
MacFarlane adds they have noticed the individuals they serve who have substance use issues, are finding the use of substances is escalating and the acuity of illness is following suit as well.
“The pandemic has been challenging for everyone just because of isolation and being able to access services, and also those who are living with mental illness it is even more challenging in that some of our services are social connections for people as well. When those become harder to access, it does affect people’s mental health,” says MacFarlane.
MacFarlane says for the new year, they would like to return to a more normal operation, and continue with their integration work as well as improve access to service.
“I think with the development of the Ontario Health Team, we want to be involved in that and work closely with our system partners to close gaps as best we can and make sure we are tailoring services to what people need and provide them in a manner they are easily accessible,” says MacFarlane.