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New integrated crisis centre set to open this summer in Kitchener

The building at 298 Lawrence Avenue in Kitchener. (Submitted/Thresholds Homes and Supports) The building at 298 Lawrence Avenue in Kitchener. (Submitted/Thresholds Homes and Supports)
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A new Integrated Crisis Centre (ICC) will open its doors this summer in Kitchener, acting as an alternative destination to hospitals for people with mental health or substance-use crises.

Thresholds Homes and Supports and Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington (CMHAWW) are working together to make it happen.

Officials said this would be Waterloo Region’s first integrated crisis centre.

“The ICC will ensure clients have a welcoming environment, designed specifically for mental health, addictions and crisis challenges, with access to crisis stabilization and services, including peer support that will improve their overall support experience and health outcomes,” said Helen Fishburn, CEO of the CMWAWW, in a joint media release from both organizations.

Before this initiative can become a reality, the organizations said there has been about a year of collaborative consultation between Region of Waterloo Public Health, Thresholds Homes and Supports, CMHAWW, Paramedic Services and other stakeholders.

The ICC aims to address systemic gaps in mental health care, offer immediate access to trauma-informed care and act as a pilot project for future funding.

According to Thresholds Homes and Supports, more than 20 per cent of emergency room visits are mental health and/or substance-use related. The organization said emergency rooms are not the best place to treat those experiencing a mental health or a substance-use crisis.

“By providing continuity of care and alleviating pressure on overwhelmed hospitals, the centre will benefit not only individuals in crisis but also the larger community,” the news release said.

The new facility will be located at 298 Lawrence Avenue and should be open to the public by August. 

It will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Officials hope to have it open 24/7 in the future, if funding is available to do so.

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