Apr
22
2020

Supporting the mental health of Islanders

By working together, the Province of Prince Edward Island, Health PEI and community are supporting the mental health and addictions needs of Islanders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Not only is it important that we find real solutions to continue to address the mental health and addictions needs of Islanders, we also have to look at ways to support all Islanders as we navigate an uncertain, difficult and stressful time for our communities. The programs and services that Islanders rely on are still available. They may look a little different as we have minimized physical contact, but we have not minimized care.”

- Premier Dennis King

Today, the Province added a mental health and addictions information service via the COVID-19 Response Line. Any Islander can access this service by calling toll-free 1-833-533-9333. Calls will be answered by trained mental health and addictions staff from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

“We recognize that many Islanders are feeling stressed or anxious because of COVID-19. Islanders living with mental illness or struggling with addiction may be feeling particularly vulnerable because of the need for public health measure such as isolation and physical distancing. I want all Islanders to know that you are not alone, we are here for you and help is available,” said Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward.  

Mental health and addictions services through Health PEI continue to be offered while following the recommendations of the Chief Public Health Officer for physical distancing and as the health care system prepares for the potential demand for emergency care.

"It is critical that we support the efforts of Dr. Heather Morrison. This means we are working to provide mental health and psychiatry supports to patients in their own homes as much as possible,” said Dr. Heather Keizer, Chief of Mental Health and Addictions with Health PEI. “We are also working hard to keep admissions to hospital to a minimum by intervening early. We want Islanders to know we are available and able to provide support and connections by telephone and video even when we must be separate physically."

In order to take pressure off the of the QEH and PCH Emergency Departments, Psychiatric Urgent Care Clinics have been established at Hillsborough Hospital in Charlottetown and at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside, where patients with serious psychiatric issues, potentially in need of admission, can be seen and assessed by multiple disciplinary teams and by a telehealth psychiatrist, as necessary. The Charlottetown Psychiatric Urgent Care Clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Hillsborough Hospital seven days a week. The Summerside Psychiatry Urgent Care Clinic is opening this week. 

Community Mental Health and Addictions continues to provide assessment, counselling, and programming, but is moving to delivering these services by telephone. One-on-one counselling can be provided by phone call and group programming will be offered by conference call.

Call-in clinics for both mental health services and addictions programming have been developed in communities across the province to replace walk-in clinics. No appointment or referral is required and Islanders in need are able to speak to registered health care workers specialized in mental health and addictions who can offer support and, if needed, refer callers to other services for additional help. 

The Strongest Families program for children and youth seeking help for mental health and other issues impacting health and well-being as well as the ICAN Adult Anxiety Program also continue. These and other e-mental supports can be found at www.bridgethegapp.ca/adult/online-programs.

As a COVID response, the Transitional Unit for those recovering from addiction, which had been operating at the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility, has temporarily moved to Queen Charlotte Junior High and is operating as a day program.  

Health PEI is also working in partnership with community organizations such as Family Services PEI to provide online sessions for those dealing with increased anxiety due to COVID-19. Additional community supports are available through organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, PEI Family Violence Prevention Services and Family Services PEI. 

In addition, the Province will be providing Lennon Recovery House Association Inc. (Lennon House) with $365,000 in funding to help with start-up costs and initial capacity of seven beds. Using a holistic approach to recovery through peer-support workers who have experienced addictions themselves, Lennon House will be well-positioned to help support Islanders suffering from addiction and concurring mental health challenges with long-term transitional housing.

For more information on the programs and services available to help Islanders, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/mentalhealthsupport
For more information on the provincial government’s response to COVID-19, including resources, program and important public health information, visit: www.princeedwardisland.ca/COVID19

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier
(902) 368-4400
ahamel@gov.pe.ca

Background: 

The Island Helpline:    1-800-218-2885 (toll-free telephone support)

The Kids Help Phone:    1-800-688-6868 (toll-free telephone support)
            Text CONNECT to 686868 (free text-based support)

Crisis Services Canada:     Text to 45645 (5 p.m. - 1 a.m.) (free text-based support)    

Mental Health Call-in Clinics: 

Montague
Community Mental Health (for individuals 16 and older)
Telephone: (902) 838-0960

  • Thursday:  4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Charlottetown
Richmond Centre (for individuals 16 and older)
Telephone: (902) 368-4430

  • Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

McGill Centre (for individuals 16 and older)
Telephone: (902) 368-4911

  • Friday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Summerside
Prince County Hospital
Telephone: (902) 888-8180

  • Monday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday:  9 a.m. – 5 p.m.    

O'Leary
O’Leary Health Centre
Telephone: (902) 853-8670

  • Wednesday:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m.   

Addiction Services Call-in Clinics:
Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility
Telephone: (902) 368-4120

  • Wednesday:  9 a.m. – 12 noon
  • Thursday:  1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

Summerside
Telephone: (902) 888-8180

  • Tuesday:  1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday:  9 a.m. – 12 noon    

General Inquiries

Office of the Premier
5th Floor South, Shaw Building
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-4400
Fax: 902-368-4416

premier@gov.pe.ca