Story Posted: 2023-07-20

Hospital Highlights: Mental Health and Addiction Services

From the St. Paul’s Hospital & SPH Foundation 2022-23 Annual Review.

Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) provides a range of services including individual, group and family therapies for clients of all ages who face challenges involving mental health and addictions. The demand for service has increased since the pandemic began, and we are using our resources as efficiently as possible to provide immediate and compassionate care. The Brief and Social Detox Unit returned to full capacity in spring 2022, after running at 50% capacity throughout most of the pandemic in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. 

We continue to work diligently to support clients requiring detoxification services, ensuring that their unique needs are met and reducing the frequency with which they need to access Emergency Departments. Operational since February 2020, the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic at St. Paul’s provides clients with immediate access to addiction care, offering both medication-based and psychosocial interventions to ensure a holistic approach to addressing substance use disorders.

On August 31, 2022 a number of teams within MHAS (including the Opioid Assisted Recover Services team [OARS], RAAM and the Emergency Department Addiction Counsellors [EDAC]) participated in the International Overdose Awareness Day at the OARS office in our neighbourhood. This event honoured the lives of those lost to overdose, supported the loved ones they have left behind, raised awareness, provided education, aimed to reduce stigma, and recognized the ongoing efforts made to reduce overdoses in our community. The staff from MHAS provided Take Home Naloxone Training and Kits, and provided education regarding opioids and overdoses and resources for those needing support.

Overdose Outreach Teams (OOT) were launched in both Regina and Saskatoon in December 2022. These teams connect people who have recently experienced an overdose with supportive programs and services in the community. The teams are part of a pilot project to help individuals reduce their risk of overdose and other drug-related harms. Mental Health and Addictions Services clinical staff work alongside primary care health paramedics from the Regina Fire and Protective Services and the Saskatoon Fire Department to provide support to individuals who have recently experienced an overdose. The outreach teams have brought awareness of this new pilot to healthcare staff and professionals in SHA, and have worked to engage with community partner agencies and organizations such as Medavie and Saskatoon Police Services.

Generosity Powers Education 

In February 2022, SPH Foundation was delighted to support Dr. Victoria Tian with a Fellowship Grant to study Addictions Medicine through the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use at the University of British Columbia. Receiving funding from the Foundation meant that Dr. Tian could learn from leading experts in Addictions Medicine, a growing field focused on compassion, recovery and evidence-based care. Dr. Tian has recently returned to St. Paul’s Hospital to share her new knowledge, expertise and experience to the benefit of our community.


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