Someone on your side 

Kaley Knox, Mental Health and Addictions Patient Navigator

Meet Health PEI’s Mental Health and Addictions Patient Navigator

Working as a counsellor at Community Mental Health and Addictions in Montague, Kaley Knox could see firsthand how difficult it can be for people to find the help they need. When she saw the job posting go up for the provincial Mental Health and Addictions Patient Navigator for Health PEI, she knew this would be a position that would make a difference.

“People accessing our services are already at a place where it’s hard to reach out,” said Knox. “They’re frustrated. Their family is frustrated. They’re tired. Having someone on their side to show them what’s available or give them reassurance can make a big difference.”

Knox was named Health PEI’s first Mental Health and Addictions Patient Navigator in November.

“We worked for several years with the Health Patient Navigator, who would sometimes take on Mental Health and Addictions clients,” said Lorna Hutt, director of Community Mental Health and Addictions for Health PEI. “She did a wonderful job, but it showed us the need for a full-time, dedicated navigator for Mental Health and Addictions.”

Hutt said Knox’s role is to help people navigate the sometimes-complicated path to receive the services they need—and not just those within Mental Health and Addictions.

“This position crosses all Mental Health and Addiction services,” said Hutt. “It crosses from acute mental health and addictions services, to our transition services, and into community mental health and addiction services. That is something that hasn’t existed before. We know a person’s journey touches many places, so it’s great to have someone dedicated to guiding them through.”

“There can be a lot of factors that contribute to poor mental health and addiction,” said Knox. “Maybe they’re new to PEI. Maybe they’re finding it difficult to heat their home or their housing is precarious. I’m not going to ignore those facts. I’ll help them find resources or referrals.”

Hutt said the first few months of the navigator have been busy with helping patients, but also with exploring other services that might complement this position.

“Even besides the patient navigators, there are community navigators outside of Health PEI,” said Hutt. “Kaley is building relationships with each of them. It is important for her to make these connections, as these people will be instrumental in helping her to find the resources and supports for whoever comes to her.”

“Every day with this job is different,” said Knox. “There is something new every day. And what I’m finding is people need reassurance. They want to know if they’re doing the right thing by seeking help for themselves or for their loved ones. This is a hard system to navigate, even if you’re on the inside! So, hearing someone say, ‘you’re doing the right thing’ is really important.”

“It’s not surprising to me that it’s often loved ones coming to Kaley to advocate for someone in their family who is struggling,” said Hutt. “And that is an opportunity for her to offer support to them. It’s often a surprise to people reaching out to find Health PEI can help family members. They’re so busy caring for their loved ones, they lose sight of their own needs.”

Knox said her role is constantly evolving, as she builds relationships both in and outside the mental health and addictions community.

“Patient navigation is an integral part of the health care system,” she said. “I’m super excited for the possibilities for this role. Done well, patient navigating can improve system and patient outcomes while increasing satisfaction for patients, their families, and staff. That’s exactly what I want to do.” 

Contact the Mental Health and Addictions Navigator today at or (902) 218-3289.


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Published date: 
April 9, 2022
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