May27, 2019


CMHA WW Adult Intensive Services Making Big Difference in

Care for Those with Severe Mental Illnesses 

It has been an 11-year journey filled with dark moments of uncertainty, hopelessness and tears. Through many hospitalizations, involuntary commitment, crisis interventions and addiction/rehab, Joeanne searched for answers for her son Jacob. In 2016, their lives started to change drastically for the better when her son began his journey with Adult Intensive Services (a Flexible Assertive Treatment model of service) thanks to his CMHA WW support worker.

The Adult Intensive Services model has revolutionized the way people with severe mental illness receive care around the world. CMHA WW took the best of this model and made it suit the needs of the region’s residents. Jacob was one of the first people to participate in Waterloo program and now is alumnus.

The model includes those with addictions, who were previously excluded from complex care teams focused on mental health. It is an important addition, as many people living with severe substance use issues do not have the supports they need.

This was the case with Jacob. He had many complex diagnoses: drug onset psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder. He attended rehab and found his place in the world thanks to his workers looking at addiction and mental health in a concurrent way. He participated in post program care, confronting root causes of addiction through therapy and various groups.

People supported by Adult Intensive Services receive customized individual and group-based treatment grounded in recovery, including relationship building, personal goal and recovery planning, support with medication issues, service and system coordination, assistance with crisis management, connecting to formal and informal supports, practical supports in multiple life areas, and advocacy. 

The program is expanding into Guelph and Cambridge and CMHA WW is measuring a decrease in the clients need for service to measure success. According to Joeanne, Jacob is much more self-aware than he has ever been; they have open and honest conversations. Adult Intensive Services recognizes the recurring nature of serious and persistent mental illness and is able to flex the level of care to match the needs of the person. Jacob knows when to reach out for help and that the team is there for him in those moments, they are able to wrap back around and monitor when he needs it most and encourage autonomy when he does not.  

About the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington

CMHA WW is Canada’s largest CMHA chapter and provides a full care system for those with addictions, mental health or developmental needs. CMHA WW serves everyone from children to adults to seniors, all under one roof. It is also the lead partner in Here 24/7, the single access point to the entire mental health, addictions and crisis sector in Waterloo Wellington.

For further information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Megan Brady, Communications Specialist
Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington
1-844-264-2993 Ext. 2106/226-979-4578 (cell)
Twitter: @CMHAWW