Tag Archives: ottawamission

Recognizing Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

May 6 – 13 is Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada. Last year, we profiled Robyn Henderson, a Social Worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) who has worked within the Ottawa Mission for the past three years delivering intensive case management to clients dealing with long-term homelessness and severe mental illness. This week, we provide an update on her important work.

For clients who have spent significant periods of time in shelters, independence can be a daunting process. Robyn works hard to build rapport and earn their trust. One of Robyn’s most remarkable success stories is securing and maintaining housing for these clients. This achievement is critical as the Mission moves to implement the pillars of its new strategic plan, including enhancing its focus on securing and maintaining housing for its clients. Last year the Mission housed 230 people.

According to the Auditor General of Ontario, over 50% of people within Ottawa’s emergency shelters have reported a past diagnosis of mental illness, a number far higher than that of the general population. Clients with persistent mental illness face significant barriers to care and support given the impact of their illness on their understanding of their situation and the stigma that surrounds both mental illness and homelessness.

“Securing and maintaining safe and affordable housing for individuals living with severe mental illness and who have lived in the shelter for many years is challenging. Apartment vacancy rates are very low and it is difficult to find private landlords who will take part in affordable housing programs. The need for low barrier supportive housing and subsidized apartments is immense resulting in long waitlists. I consider it an honour to help navigate the path to independence for these clients and support them on their journey.”

Celebrating National Nurses Week at The Ottawa Mission

Imagine what life would be like if you had nowhere to go, no place to call home. That would be hard enough. But it’s even more difficult when you’re sick.

People who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless bear a much higher burden of disability, mental and physical health problems and addictions. Before the Ottawa Mission opened its primary care clinic, those who were homeless often ended up in emergency rooms if they were sick. We are now expanding the clinic to enhance our ability to provide care to those who are homeless and allow us to treat up to twice the number of patients within our new space.

At our clinic, operated in partnership with Ottawa Inner City Health, nurse practitioners provide compassionate and evidence-based care for our community’s most vulnerable.

Carole has been a client of The Mission’s primary care clinic since 2007, when it opened. Before that, she didn’t have a family healthcare provider and was instead relying on drop-in clinics. Carole visits the clinic once a month. “The service at the Mission clinic is incredible. The staff are very friendly, welcoming and thorough. They get things done, including referrals for tests and other follow-up care. They’ve also pointed me in the right direction for additional supports. At the clinic, I know I’m getting the best possible service. I have a lot of anxiety, and the clinic has a very caring atmosphere that alleviates fear. I know all the staff, and, for me, it’s my safe place,” Carole notes.

This week is National Nurses Week, and we applaud our wonderful colleagues.