Patients and families to benefit
from new mental health expansion
in Kitchener

February 1, 2011 12:00 am Views: 110
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Patients, families, community stakeholders and GRH staff celebrated the official opening of Freeport’s new specialized mental health expansion in late October. The new unit offers 50 new beds and outpatient services for longer-term mental health needs. It will work alongside acute psychiatric services at the hospital’s KW Site.

A $13.5 million expansion to Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Site in Kitchener is providing new specialized services for mental health patients closer to families and loved ones. Care providers, elected officials, donors, patients and families officially opened the 50 bed expansion on October 29th.
“Thanks to the hard work of staff at Grand River Hospital and our regional partners, funding from government and support from the community, patients will benefit from care in a beautiful new facility closer to their loved ones and friends,” said Bryce Walker, chair of the GRH Board.
The program will provide 50 beds and services for individuals living with mental illness. It allows patients who have previously travelled to London to remain closer to home for specialized care. It serves patients 19 years of age and older who may need stays of up to three months as they receive treatment for a mental illness. It includes a range of beds and services serving seniors, those with a severe and persistent mental illness, and patients transitioning back to the community.
The Government of Ontario provided $13.5 million in construction funding for the project. Community donors through the Grand River Hospital Foundation also supported the project, helping to equip the new unit. GRH has worked with Regional Mental Health Care in London to transfer patients to Freeport to continue their care.
“Our government is pleased to fund vital mental health projects such as this expansion, as well as the new adult, child and adolescent acute facilities at GRH’s K-W Site,” said John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre. “We want to have a system of care to support patients in whatever setting they may need assistance. But most importantly, we need to end the stigma linked to mental illness so people can receive the support they need.”
“Our foundation has seen growing support from the community for mental health projects at both of Grand River’s sites,” said Theresa Fischer, chair of the Grand River Hospital Foundation’s board. “This growing awareness supports not only the hospital and its services, but also reflects a stronger understanding of the need to address mental illness.”
The expansion features photographs from community members with lived experience with mental health issues. Grand River Hospital and the GRH Foundation worked with the artistic group Spark of Brilliance to provide 23 amateur photographers the opportunity to take pictures that show the hopes, dreams and challenges of living with a mental illness. The pictures will be on display throughout the Freeport expansion and new mental health facilities at the KW Site.

Article By:

Mark Karjaluoto

Mark Karjaluoto is Director of Communications at Grand River Hospital.

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