WALK-IN THERAPY IN RURAL MENTAL HEALTH CLINICS: CREATING THE CONTEXT, TRAINING THE STAFF .
In rural settings, numerous complex challenges exist to the provision of high quality mental health services that can respond quickly to client needs. This article describes an immediate access service delivery model and a training program designed to assist staff in rural mental health clinics to implement the model. .
This paper describes a service delivery and training model developed in Calgary Alberta, Canada, for clients living in rural areas who are seeking mental health services. Alberta is about the size of Texas, with only two urban centres containing about half the province's population, (1.5 million people). In 1981 the Alberta Mental Health Board (AMHB) contracted with Wood's Homes, a comprehensive service organization with orphanage roots dating back to 1914, to provide mental health treatment services to children, adolescents and their families in the Calgary region. At that time there were limited community resources for this population and none that provided campus-based (residential) short-term intensive treatment in a community context. Over time and as a result of the success of the residential programs, parents and families requested that services be extended beyond the residential campus setting and delivered in such a way as to create a more comprehensive continuum of care for children in need.
Wood's Homes is known for its commitment to delivering services and programs to families and communities in ways that fit their need. Three examples of an expanding service continuum in response to the community are; a 24-hour mobile crisis response team, a storefront outreach program for street youth, and the Eastside Family Centre.
The Eastside Family Centre is a walk-in counselling service strategically located in a busy shopping mall on the east side of the city. It was developed in 1990 in response to requests from community members for greater accessibility of mental health counselling services.