Vital mental health care close to home

Lakeridge Health celebrated the official opening of the new 22-bed Mental Health Unit at Ajax Pickering Hospital. Durham Region’s new Mental Health Unit began admitting patients on January 21.

Sharon Cochran, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Lakeridge Health were joined by the Honourable Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Deputy Premier, other dignitaries and community partners to mark an important milestone for heath care in Durham Region.

“These new mental health beds will enable people in West Durham to receive immediate, specialized inpatient mental health care, in their own community,” said Cochran. “This expansion of mental health services meets a crucial need today and gives Lakeridge Health the capacity to meet our population’s needs tomorrow.”

Over the last decade, the number of Durham residents admitted to Lakeridge Health’s Oshawa Hospital for acute mental health care has increased by 50 per cent. With the region’s population set to more than double in the next 20 years, the need for mental health services will continue to rise. The addition of new mental health beds at Ajax Pickering Hospital is critical for our regional system of care as it provides more options to people with mental health conditions across Durham Region.

“The grand opening of these new mental health beds will help ensure that patients in Durham Region are able to receive the high-quality care they need close to home,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Innovative models of care like this, designed to ensure a healing, safe and welcoming environment for patients will help improve access to mental health care and reduce wait times.”

This modern space is specially designed for people who need 24/7 acute mental health care to support their recovery. Patients and their families will be supported by a team of approximately 50 highly skilled professionals from different disciplines and six psychiatrists. The unit will have the capacity to admit 600 people each year, offering them the latest standard of patient-centred mental health care.

“We cannot treat mental and physical health separately,” said Dr. Neeraj Bajaj, Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Mental Health. “The ability for families to see their loved ones being treated close to their homes will make a big difference in the lives of so many. The new Mental Health Unit at Ajax Pickering Hospital is a wonderful addition to the range of services that Lakeridge Health already offers.”

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