Sioux Lookout hospital getting safe rooms, with hopes of bringing mental health patients more dignity – CBC

Apr 04, 2023

About 20% of ER visits last year to northwestern Ontario hospital related to mental health or addictions

The Meno Ya Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout in northwestern Ontario is undergoing renovations to make space for four safe rooms in its emergency department.

The rooms will be designated for patients experiencing acute mental health conditions who are considered at high risk of injuring themselves or others.

The hospital is a hub for 30 fly-in First Nations communities in the region and is one of the first points of contact for people in crisis in northern Ontario. It currently uses two small rooms in the department as mental health rooms.

But Dr. Justin Bell, the hospital’s chief of mental health and addictions, said staff felt they weren’t able to adequately meet people’s needs in these spaces.

About 20 per cent of visits to Meno Ya Win’s emergency department were related to mental health or addictions last year, Bell said. That’s up from 12 per cent in 2019, and much higher than the provincial standard of around four per cent.

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