Concurrent Sessions

F3-b – Keep Your Friends Close and Your FHOs Even Closer: Expanding Mental Health Services to Three FHOs in Kitchener-Waterloo

Theme 3. Expanding your reach

  • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session F
  • Time: 12:00-12:45pm
  • Room: Pier 9
  • Style: Presentation (information provided to audience, with opportunity for audience to ask question)
  • Focus: Practical (e.g. Presentation on how to implement programs and/or practices in the team environment)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers

Learning Objectives

1) Participants will understand the origin of the program

2) Participants will understand the successes and challenges of the initiative to date

3) Participants will understand essential elements in overcoming the challenges of implementation


As part of a province-wide trend to increase patient access to inter-professional teams in primary care, the Centre for Family Medicine FHT has launched an initiative to provide mental health services to patients of three FHOs in Kitchener-Waterloo. This program makes counselling services available to 52 additional family-physicians, serving approximately 65,000 patients. This presentation will briefly describe the origin and formation of the Partnership for Mental Health Services, and the progress on the implementation of this pilot to date, with a focus on the perspectives of the three clinical therapists supporting the FHOs.

Since its inception there have been a variety of hurdles overcome, processes developed, and adaptations made. Various successes and challenges will be discussed and learnings shared that may assist others in avoiding the pitfalls of implementing a similar program. Key elements of team function will be highlighted including: formation, ingenuity, flexibility, and collaboration.  Clear and direct communication, internally and externally, have been essential in building the relationships needed for success.  Preliminary outcome data will be shared and discussed and recommendations will be reviewed for implementation of similar initiatives.


  • William Corrigan, Clinical Therapist, Centre for Family Medicine FHT
  • Hendrike Isert-Bender, Clinical Therapist, Centre for Family Medicine FHT
  • Carrie Greig, Clinical Therapist, Centre for Family Medicine FHT


  • Jennifer Fillingham, Manager CFFM and KW4 Projects, Centre for Family Medicine FHT
  • Sarah Harjee, Centre for Family Medicine FHT
  • Patricia O”Toole, Centre for Family Medicine FHT