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Project details state of mental health services

By Patrick Colvin



The Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions received an update Tuesday about a collaborative project that an SFU addictions expert believes could make Vancouver a global leader.

Collective Impact brings together organizations that deal with mental health and addictions services, from the VPD to ex-drug users, to reduce crisis events and pool data. That work creates metrics painting a clearer picture on the state of Vancouver services.

Collective Impact director from SFU, Rebecca Zappelli, said that with so many different organizations, it’s hard to find measurable data on the sustainability of these harm-reduction efforts have been on a macro scale.

“How do you know what you’re doing is working? And rather than just responding to crisis, are you actually responding in a way that’s sustainable over time and will actually see less people in crisis?” asked Zappelli. “So no one has really unpacked that and understands that and so that is where Vancouver could really be a world leader.”

The Bloom Group’s Jonathan Oldman, a project partner, analogizes the initiative as a car, with all the different groups working in these services as being components of the engine. He says the project will create a metrics dashboard to identify what areas need improvement, and how to tune the “engine” so all the parts can function in alignment.

“It’s pretty exciting work,” said Vancouver Coastal Health mental health and addictions director Andrew MacFarlane. “We all have a piece to play in finding solutions to very complicated social issues that involve mental health and addictions, and so let’s work with the clients, let’s work with the peers, let’s work with all the service providers, to really refocus us on how we can change the story moving forward.”

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