The Community Addiction and Mental Health Services of Haldimand and Norfolk Addiction Mobile Outreach Team is making it easier for people living with or affected by substance use or problem gambling to reach out for support.
The outreach team is holding events at cafes in Simcoe and Dunnville for individuals to ask questions about available services, to get information on substance use, mental health or concurrent disorders or to get support on the spot. Friends and family members are also welcome to attend to get information.
The AMOT, a Ministry of Health funded program, has been operating for two years to provide services across Haldimand and Norfolk. The team includes outreach counsellors, peer support workers, and a nurse practitioner.
“Our team, as the name suggests, is mobile and the intent is to remove barriers to accessing services,” said Bobby Jo Smith, clinical services manager. “The team works seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.”
The team works with people in any life circumstances from working full-time to living with homelessness.
“It’s just meeting people where they’re at, both physically and in terms of what they’re needing for support at that given time,” said Jacqueline Boniface, an outreach counsellor on the team. “We’re unique in the way that people don’t have to come to a traditional setting to work on their goals there. We’re coming to them to make it more holistic and comfortable for them to be open to making changes.”
The support staff will work with anyone and understand that abstinence is not always an option.
“We recognize that some people may not choose to stop using, but our team supports them whether they’re continuing to use or not,” said Smith. “But they work with them around using more safely and addressing their broader health needs.”
The team will be at Joy Bakery Cafe in Simcoe on Oct. 31, and Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In Dunnville, the team will be at The Minga Cafe on Nov. 7, and 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“People can drop in, ask us questions about substance use, mental health, or concurrent disorders, and really just have a discussion to break some of the barriers and eliminate some stigma,” said Boniface.
“If you’re going to go into a situation and have that difficult discussion just honour yourself for being brave and doing that,” she continued. “Give yourself that credit if you’re even thinking about having that conversation, that’s a big step on itself.”
For more information on the CAMHS services, visit their website or social media.