Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
St. Joseph's Care Group

Addictions & Mental Health

Mental Health Outpatient Program (MHOP)

Contact Us

St. Joseph's Health Centre

Referral Services

The Access Point Northwest

Call or visit The Access Point Northwest to connect to our direct referral services.

Mental Health Outpatient Program is an interprofessional, time-limited, goal-oriented team approach to mental health treatment. The program aims to provide timely access to mental health services using an evidence-based decision guide model that is focused on matching mental health needs to the appropriate service(s) available. We aim to support individuals in making better informed, strength-based and holistic choices for their mental health treatment.

We believe:

  • A client-centered trauma-informed approach to treatment, which begins with the Decision Guide Model
  • A shared decision making approach that matches services to a client’s mental health need and current situation
  • Family, peer, and community support throughout all phases of treatment
  • Collaboration between the inter-professional team members and the client and family
  • Providing evidence-based therapies for optimal treatment and recovery
  • On-going communication to ensure the treatment plan is meeting the individual’s mental health needs and goals
  • Seamless transition between programs and services
  • Listening to the voices of our client’s and families to ensure our program is meeting treatment needs

This program is for people who:

  • Are over 16 years old and living with mental health issues.
  • Have a goal to address their mental health needs.
  • Are ready and able to participate in services to meet their mental health needs


  • When emergency/crisis services are required.
    • For Crisis Services call (807) 346-8282.
    • Emergency services are available at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC)
  • When third party assessments are requested (i.e. independent medico-legal examinations).
  • When intensive case management services are required.
  • When client are already accessing other psychiatry or counselling supports.
  • When the referral is primarily for marital counseling.
  • When clients or their substitute decision makers are not willing to provide consent to treatment.

How to access our services?

Mental Health Outpatient Program (MHOP) is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. MHOP is closed evenings, weekends and all statutory holidays. Referrals can be made at The Access Point Northwest

What to Expect Once You are Referred?

MHOP uses a Decision Guide model which:

  • Facilitates goal setting, decision making and determination of needs.
  • Assists the client in making good decisions, but does NOT to make decisions for the client.
  • Allows for a functional assessment of individual’s strengths, challenges, and barriers to treatment
  • Identifies the needs of client that require support.
  • Matches the client with the appropriate services through ongoing functional assessment and feedback from client.
  • Assists the client in understanding and navigating services.
  • Assists the client with access to other services as needed.

The Decision Guide model involves a Welcome Workshop and an Initial Decision Guide Meeting.

Welcome Workshop

As part of the Decision Guide process all clients attend a Welcome Workshop. The Welcome Workshop is a group orientation to MHOP. It provides the clients a chance to learn about our program offerings and ask any questions they may have. Clients will also be asked to complete a short questionnaire called the BASIS-24 which will give a baseline measure of their current condition. Following the completion of the Welcome Workshop clients will be scheduled for an appointment with a Decision Guide.

Your Decision Guide is not your counsellor but a “guide” to support you on your journey to recovery. The Decision Guide will remain available to you throughout your involvement with MHOP to discuss your progress and any changes that need to be made in your treatment.

The Initial Decision Guide Meeting

During your first meeting your Decision Guide will:

  • Work with you to set “SMART” (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based) goals for recovery.
  • Explore any strengths & challenges that may impact on your ability to participate in services.
  • Discuss with you the options for services that best fit your goals and suggest the best place to start on your path to recovery.
  • Make referrals to the services that you agree to start with.

Counselling Services

Group based counselling services aimed to provide evidence-based psychoeducation and/or psychotherapy to clients to help resolve distressing symptoms or problems in coping. Counselling services may be provided by a social worker, psychological associate, registered psychotherapist or psychologist.

Using a client centred approach, each client works with a registered clinician to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Comprehensive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Program

The Comprehensive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Program is for individuals with extreme emotion dysregulation (e.g., mood lability, suicidality) and behavioural dysregulation (e.g., self-harm, substance use, aggression, eating difficulties, impulsivity). Individuals accessing DBT may also be experiencing interpersonal dysregulation (e.g., conflict/tension in relationships, dependency, sensitivity), cognitive dysregulation (e.g., rigidity, rumination, difficulty concentrating), and self-dysregulation (e.g. fluctuating sense of self, lack of purpose in life, emptiness, and low self-esteem.

Comprehensive DBT involves participation in weekly individual therapy and weekly group skills training for a minimum of 6 months. Clients are expected to attend all sessions and complete homework between sessions to work towards their goals.

Psychiatric Consultation Clinic

Psychiatric services are provided by a team of psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists and other physicians who work together to organize and complete comprehensive psychiatric assessments and medication management. Psychiatric services are intended to support your primary health care clinician (family doctor or nurse practitioner) and are not provided for third parties (i.e. insurance companies, ODSP, WSIB, etc.). Clients are welcome to have a relative or a friend accompany them for their appointments.

  • Provides psychiatric consultation including diagnostic clarification and medication review of clients with serious mental illness.
  • Consultation model includes up to 5 follow up sessions followed by discharge back to your family physician/nurse practitioner for ongoing monitoring.
  • Clinical consultation with family physicians may be arranged to provide advice and support clients post discharge.
  • Services are offered in-person or virtually.
Dual Diagnosis
  • Provide consultative psychiatry service for individuals identified eligible for services through Developmental Services Ontario, or suspected developmental disability, and experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Psychiatric consultation model of care involves 1- 6 sessions with possible step-down medical service prior to discharge back to family physician/nurse practitioner.

Telepsychiatry is delivered by videoconferencing technology. It is used to deliver clinical, consultative and educational services under a "Shared Care" model.

Presently there are two parts to the service:

  • One time psychiatric consults with outlying communities.
  • Psychiatric consults with short term follow up (2 - 6 visits) for Mental Health Outpatient Program (MHOP) clients by a psychiatrist from another region of Ontario.

Further follow up is provided for you by your family physician.

Referrals can be made at The Northwest Access Point

  • Medical diagnosis of the presenting psychiatric condition will be determined and explained to the clients to help them learn about their mental illness and its management.
  • Different medications and treatment options, including appropriate psychological interventions, will be explored with the client, and a safe and appropriate management plan will be discussed and agreed upon with the client. An outpatient prescription may be issued if required.
  • After consultation, an assessment letter with comprehensive advice and recommendations regarding the management plan will be shared with the primary health care provider.
  • Up to 5 follow-up appointments can be offered for medication monitoring, and to allow further stabilization with a later transition to the primary health care provider.
  • Clients may be referred to other community services and/or a Decision Guide to explore the MHOP service options if appropriate.
  • On discharge, clients will be given information about their mental illness, their prescribed medications, and other community services available to them.

Psychological Assessment Services

Psychological assessment services are provided by psychologists and psychological associates who specialize in the assessment and diagnosis of impairment in cognition, emotion, thought, personality, and behaviour. Psychological assessment services are intended to support treatment at MHOP and are not provided for third parties (e.g. insurance companies, ODSP, WSIB, etc.).

Services Provided

Psychological assessments and consultations - provide diagnosis, psychological functioning, and inform treatment plans

Neuropsychological assessments - focus on brain/behaviour relationship, diagnosis, and identifying cognitive strengths/weaknesses to help inform treatment plans within MHOP programs

Specialized Services

  • Leisure life skills instructors, occupational therapy, dietitian, social workers, and First Nations spiritual care specialists can be accessed to address discipline specific goals.
  • Peer support specialists are available for those who want to talk with or receive support from a trained volunteer who has lived experience with mental health issues.

Workshops and Groups

  • A variety of workshops and groups are available that are both treatment and psycho-education based.
  • Workshops and groups provide opportunity to learn and share with others experiencing similar issues.
  • Workshops are short introductions to treatment issues and options for treatment (usually 1 to 3 sessions).
  • Groups offer the opportunity for skill building and treatment (usually 12-16 sessions).

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