What we are working on

After reviewing the results of its capacity and capability self-assessment process, CW CDN members identified five areas of focus on which to work together. These areas include:

1. System-wide capacity-enhancement initiatives

  • Screening: CW CDN members determined through the self-assessment process that there was little consistency across the mental health, addictions, health and social services system on whether and how individuals were being identified as having both mental health and substance use needs. The feeling was that people with both kinds of needs are being missed and therefore are not being served as well as they could be. Network members agreed to participate in a system-wide effort to improve the identification of individuals presenting with both mental health and substance use needs across the Central West LHIN. Each CW CDN member organization has therefore committed to implement some form of screening for concurrent disorders within its programs, with an emphasis on the use of validated and reliable screening tools. Several organizations are working together to implement a particular screener, the GAIN Short-Screener. Over time it is hoped to use (non-identifying) statistical information to determine how many people with concurrent disorders are being served within the Central West LHIN and how this compares with estimates of need as determined by the application of population-based prevalence rates to the Central West LHIN population. 
  • Policy development: The results of the COMPASS self-assessment identified a gap in the translation and documentation of existing good concurrent disorders practices into program and organization policy. The CW CDN agreed to create mechanisms for system-wide policy development related to issues such as welcoming, access, screening, and scopes of practice/core competencies related to concurrent disorders. CW CDN members are working currently on policy development in relation to "welcoming." A draft Welcoming Policy has been developed and is now being reviewed, tailored and adopted by each CW CDN member organization as appropriate given the organization's unique context and current level of policy documentation in this area. 
  • Front-line capacity-building: To-date, involvement in CW CDN activities has been limited to the Manager and Director-level representatives at the CW CDN table. Network members recognize that no capacity-building initiative can be successful without the full engagement and involvement of front-line staff. Therefore, the CW CDN, in partnership with the CMHA Peel Concurrent Disorders Resource Network (Peel CDRN), has established a Concurrent Disorders Change Champion Team, an inter-agency front-line change champion team to augment and support both Network's overall concurrent disorders capacity-building efforts. The purpose of the Central West Concurrent Disorders Change Champion Team (CW CD CCT) is to work together as a formally recognized group of empowered front-line staff charged with driving, facilitating and supporting change at the front-line in relation to the building of concurrent disorders capacity and capability within and as approved by each of their organizations in the Central West LHIN. As members of the CW CD CCT, participants both receive and provide support to each other in their work as change champions within their respective organizations and provide input to and inform the development of system-wide concurrent disorders capacity-building efforts over time.  

The CMHA Peel Concurrent Disorders Resource Network offers system-wide training, consultation and technical assistance to Central West LHIN programs and clinicians. Please click here - http://www.cmhapeel.ca/concurrent.htm - for more information on the CMHA Peel CDRN. 

2. Service development

In addition to working together on system-wide concurrent disorders capacity-building initiatives, the implementation of which will improve service delivery to all people being served who have both mental health and substance use needs, CW CDN members are also working together to identify opportunities for the development or enhancement and implementation of specific concurrent disorders-capable or -enhanced services and supports. These service development initiatives are meant to augment the current continuum of services and supports within the Central West LHIN and address existing gaps in service identified by consumers, families and CW CDN members through the system self-assessment process. It is anticipated that most of these initiatives will be designed and implemented through partnerships developed among various CW CDN members using either existing resources or seed funding provided through the Network's concurrent capacity-building initiative. It is recognized however that significant enhancements to continuum of services will require additional funding from the Central West LHIN.

3. Infrastructure development

  • Charter of Participation and Action Plan: Following completion of the COMPASS self-assessment process, the CW CDN members developed a Charter of Participation and Action Plan to guide its work. The Charter of Participation and Action plan outlines the agreement made by members of the CW CDN to work together to continuously improve how services are delivered to people with both mental health and addiction needs in the Central West LHIN. The Charter of Participation and Action Plan is meant to be a "living document" which will evolve over time through the work of the CW CDN. 
  • Workplan: Based on the results of the COMPASS self-assessment and the contents of the Charter of Participation and Action Plan, the CW CDN developed a workplan to guide the Network's efforts over year. This workplan is updated by the Network members on an annual basis. 
  • Website: The CW CDN developed this website to support information provision on concurrent disorders and the services and supports available to people with both mental health and substance use needs within the Central West LHIN. This website is also meant to be used by service providers to support collaborative learning, knowledge transfer and capacity-building activities across the Central West LHIN. 

4. Monitoring and evaluation

The CW CDN agreed to develop mechanisms to manage and report on its activities to all stakeholders both for system improvement and collective advocacy purposes. It was agreed that a critical first step was the development of a plan to collect information related to the progress of this initiative. Network members agreed to conduct and report on program, organization and system-level self-assessments over time and to collect and report basic data on the prevalence of concurrent disorders, diversity and complexity in the population served. More specifically, Network members agreed to facilitate the use of the COMPASS by CW CDN member programs to establish a baseline assessment for 2008 of concurrent disorder capacity and capability throughout the system and then continue to use this tool at 12-18 month intervals to measure progress in this initiative. The CW CDN also agreed to use the CO-FIT 100 as a system fidelity outcome tool for measuring progress in system-level concurrent disorders capacity to create a baseline score for 2009 and then continue to use this tool at 12-18 month intervals to measure progress in this initiative.

5. Advocacy

CW CDN members agreed to use the results of this initiative to support collective and on-going advocacy initiatives to secure the resources needed to adequately and appropriately meet the needs of people in CW LHIN with concurrent disorders and their families.

Finally, each CW CDN member organization committed early on in the Network development process to engage in yearly organization-specific concurrent disorders capacity enhancement initiatives either based on the results of their COMPASS program and organization self-assessments or in areas identified as needs outside of the CW CDN process. Information on these individual organization capacity-building initiatives is collected and reported regularly to the CW CDN members.