Mental health team providing crucial care in the midst of COVID-19

Meet Noah. He’s a member of Compass: an Assertive Community Treatment team (ACTT) that provides community mental health outreach in partnership with Michael Garron Hospital’s mental health services.

Compass is a multi-disciplinary team made up of nurses, occupational therapist, a social worker, community support counsellors, a peer support worker and a psychiatrist.

Noah is a community counsellor who provides support and medication treatment to adults with mental health challenges. He shares some of the unique services Compass provides for clients in the community – and how his team continues to provide crucial care despite the challenges COVID-19 presents.

“As an assertive community treatment (ACT) team, we see approximately 80 clients in the community, seven days a week. Much of what we do is involves safely overseeing and administering medication, but we also organize group outings and events, and one-on-one activities with clients. Things like going for a walk, or going for coffee, to help take some of the focus off just providing medication.

Since the pandemic began, we’ve had to suspend those groups and had to limit our interaction with clients. But people still need to be seen, they still need their medication and appointments with a psychiatrist, so it’s still business as usual, just in a different way. We now wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) and have to limit how often we see clients.

It’s tough because for a lot of our clients, coming into our office for group sessions was a huge part of their day and their lives – and now they’re missing that human connection. But we still make sure we see every single person. Our clients are still getting attention and care – but we’re missing being able to provide the extra social, leisure and vocational activities that round out the medication piece. That’s what really helps our clients find fulfillment and meaning in their community.

I think one of the biggest things we miss as team members is our daily face-to-face staff meeting. We have such a phenomenal team bond; we all work together cohesively and get along so well. We miss that group dynamic and the opportunity to share successes and challenges and make sure everyone’s on the same page. That special kind of interaction is something can’t be replicated virtually. I honestly can’t wait to have a staff meeting again!”