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After hours mental health services may change in spring

After hours mental health counselling at the Prairie North Health Centre Medical Clinic may be in for a change this spring. The support services that run after clinic hours will be reviewed by the end of March to determine if the program will be expanded, contracted or remain the same.

Dr. Bilanin Konlan, Program Manager for Adult Mental Health and Addictions,  says that the data collected at the clinic will help the Saskatchewan Health Authority decide if it meets the needs of the community.

“After March, we will be able to sit back and evaluate whether or not these services are meeting the intended objective as was conceived. If yes, we will decide whether we are expanding it, contracting it or re configuring it,” says Dr. Konlan.

The clinic at the Prairie North Health Centre currently offers addictions and mental health supports after hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for those who cannot sacrifice work to reach counselling.

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The clinic often received calls about accessing services outside their normal hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and created an after-hours service program.

Dr. Konlan says changes to that service package would be suggested based on comparing the hours spent servicing the public and requests for services outside of those expanded hours.

“If the service requests exceed the available time, it would suggest we need to expand the services. If, on the other hand, we had a counsellor there with fewer service requests coming in, then it meant that the time we had committed servicing the public in that particular framework was not properly utilized.”

Dr. Konlan says that an expanded service would look a lot like the services offered after hours right now. That would include addictions services, mental health counselling, crisis management and referral services.

“Sometimes we might have an individual come in who’s presenting issues exceeding immediate counselling services, in which case the counsellor will be referring the person to the ER at the hospital.  Sometimes crisis services will be prepared for the individual to follow-up with a psychiatrist the following day.”

The service also works with other agencies and can make referrals to psychiatrists, social services, child and family services and the Interval Home.

Dr. Konlan says that those accessing the services are often pleased with how available the services are outside of regular clinic hours.

“Those that require services outside of eight to five, they feel very heard that we have been able to create a package that meets theit needs. Those people no longer have to choose between their jobs and families and their mental health. They’re able to do what they need to do in their private lives and able to access our services when they can afford to do so.”

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