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St. Joseph's Care Group

St. Joseph's Care Group


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Expanding St. Joseph's Health Centre: Health Centre South

Date: 2018-03-23

<strong>Expanding St. Joseph's Health Centre</strong> (from left to right): <strong>Tracy Buckler</strong>, President & CEO; <strong>Kristine Quaid</strong>, Lead, Peer Connections, <strong>Janet Sillman</strong>, Vice President, Addictions & Mental Health
Expanding St. Joseph's Health Centre: Health Centre South

Thunder Bay, March 23, 2018 - St. Joseph's Health Centre first opened its doors in March of 2007. Offering mental health outpatient programming, St. Joseph's Health Centre marked a turning point where clients could access supports in the community rather than always in institutional settings. We are pleased to announce Health Centre South, an expansion of St. Joseph’s Health Centre that brings even more programs and supports to one easy-to-access location.

Just steps from the existing St. Joseph's Health Centre, Health Centre South is home to programs including Peer Connections, Employment Options, and the TeamWerks Co-operative which, until now, have been located inside Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. It is also home to Project ECHO, an innovative program bringing more capacity to the region to safely and effectively treat chronic, common and complex diseases in remote, rural and underserviced areas.

Kristine Quaid, a long-time volunteer and Lead for Peer Connections, noted that having a space inside a shopping centre has distinct advantages because it is far removed from the institutional settings of the past. “We want everyone to feel welcome in our space, free from judgment or stigma, and take advantage of the supports that we offer,” said Quaid. “I am very proud to be a part of the Peer Connections program, where people living with addictions and mental health issues receive support from trained volunteers who have experienced similar issues.”

Janet Sillman, Vice President of Addictions & Mental Health with St. Joseph’s Care Group, reflects on how St. Joseph’s Health Centre has become a part of this vibrant community. “We didn’t want to build a traditional standalone health centre, especially when so many of our programs and services focus on integration.” That is especially important for people who no longer need the more intensive supports of inpatient care, but need the right services closer to home whether it be counselling, help finding work or housing, or making new social connections to live well in the community.

St. Joseph’s Care Group offers a spectrum of services to meet people where they are in their health care journey, as well as providing education and services to the region. “For people living with addiction and mental health issues, we know that connecting with the right services can sometimes be a barrier,” said Tracy Buckler, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Care Group. “The Health Centre is a place of connections, whether it is through our outreach programs, our client-led services like Peer Connections and TeamWerks, or building regional capacity through Project ECHO. We are always finding new ways to be here for you when you need us.”

Backgrounder - St. Joseph's Health Cntre

St. Joseph’s Care Group is proud to continue providing client-centered care in a way that is sustainable and meets the needs of the people that we serve: we are here for you when you need us. Our role is to deliver high-quality services in Addictions & Mental Health, Rehabilitative Care & Chronic Disease Management, and Seniors’ Health, and to support our local and regional partners in these areas.

The expansion of St Joseph’s Health Centre means that there will be more services in the community to help people to live well with addictions and mental illness. Programs include the following:

Peer Connections

Run by Certified Peer Supporters and Volunteers, Peer Connections is a recovery based socialization drop in program sthat strive to support others with similar challenges recovering from mental health and addiction challenges. The program provides a non- judgmental safe space, using lived experiences and formalized training combined with self determination and independence to help clients find a healthy balance that is right for them.

GAPPS (Getting Appropriate Personal & Professional Support)

In collaboration with Canadian Mental Health Association, Alpha Court, and NorWest Community Health Centres, GAPPS supports vulnerable persons in the community with complex mental illness, addictions and social issues who have difficulty engaging in traditional services. The GAPPS team helps clients by connecting and reconnecting them to community resources and work with them to improve their overall health and well-being.

Employment Options Program / TeamWerks Co-op

The goal of the program is to provide access to employment, volunteer, and educational opportunities for consumers of mental health and addictions services through the provision of individualized supports and services in a client-centered, recovery- oriented environment. Referrals come from a variety of sources, including Community Mental Health, Regional Hospital Forensics, physicians, community based employment services and self-referrals. Once clients are accepted to the program, an intake meeting is scheduled with each client and a Vocational Rehabilitation Officer to develop a Vocational Assessment and plan. This goal-centred plan is based on individual needs, readiness, motivation, barriers and strengths. About one third of clients registered in the Employment Options Program access the employment available within the TeamWerks Co-op which is a social enterprise owned and operated by consumers of mental health and addictions services. The social enterprise supports a wide range of employment, skills building, training and peer to peer supports. As one of the largest worker co-ops in Ontario with over forty members, TeamWerks operates a number of unique businesses enterprises that serve the public on a daily basis. As explained by a client, “For me the program is exactly what I want. It has helped me to stay out of the hospital. I feel good about myself.” Learn more at

Project ECHO

The mission of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) at St. Joseph’s Care Group is to develop the capacity to safely and effectively treat chronic, common and complex diseases in rural, remote and under serviced areas, and to monitor outcomes of this treatment. A joint project with The Ottawa Hospital, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, ECHO chronic project provides an opportunity for clinicians across the province to connect and share information leveraging technology. It can be summed up in one sentence: moving knowledge, not people.

To learn more about how Project ECHO is being delivered locally, visit St. Joseph’s Care Group’s website at, or the Project ECHO provincial website at

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