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New phone system increases connections to clients at Access and Assessment Centre


​As Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) marks Mental Health Month, we are highlighting some of the programs that make a difference in the lives of people experiencing mental health challenges.

The Access and Assessment Centre (AAC), located at the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre on the Vancouver General Hospital campus, may be the first place a person turns to for help. It recently received an upgrade to its phone system. In April 2022, the AAC implemented a call centre-style model. Anna Thompson, Operations Manager for the AAC and Outpatient Services says this is a huge improvement.

“The new phone system has improved our ability to meet demand. There are more people able to connect with us by phone. The new system also provides meaningful data on peak times and demand, to help inform our program needs moving forward," she says.

The AAC is open between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. for anyone to walk in if they feel they need urgent mental health services. They can also call between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The AAC provides access to psychiatrists and clinicians. Some clients may go to the Inpatient Unit at the Segal Centre after visiting the AAC, and some may receive further support in the community. “The team does a good job of putting together plans for clients," Anna says. She notes many people do not know where to start accessing treatment, and staff at the AAC help look at all options available.

Approximately one quarter of clients who present at the AAC are connected to Outpatient Services, located on the second floor of the Segal Centre. This team provides group therapy, both in-person and virtually, as well as psychiatric consultations, and one-on-one suicide intervention counselling. Outpatient Services also includes a rehabilitation team and short-term nursing support for clients who require a little more support than standard programming.​

SOURCE: New phone system increases connections to clients at Access and Assessment Centre ( )
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