We are all in this Together
The dedication and compassion of the staff at Mission Services of London have remained strong and steadfast throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this installment of the story series, We are all in this Together, we are featuring the hardworking team at another one of our five branches of service: Community Mental Health Programs (CMHP).
Committed to Staying Connected at CMHP
Doug Nemeth, Program Coordinator of Community Mental Health Programs (CMHP), was not at all surprised by the eager and passionate response of his team to the COVID-19 crisis. “Someone with an outside perspective would be shocked at what the CMHP team has been able to continue providing for our community”, he said. “I wish I could think of something that surprised me about their response, but I’ve come to expect that they are just this good!”
CMHP offers various support services to assist the needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, as well as those struggling with mental illness and addiction issues. The team includes Transitional Case Managers (TCMs) who support those who are leaving hospital and coping with mental illness; Streetscape Outreach Workers who seek individuals in need of social assistance and help them to navigate social services; Resource Centre staff who provide a friendly drop-in space with access to resources like laundry, computers, and educational programming; and vital support staff.
In light of the pandemic, the CMHP team transitioned to working from home which was quite a change from their regular routine of face-to-face communication with clients in the community. “When we started working remotely, they said ‘How do we still connect and work with people?’”, said Doug (pictured right) as he explained that, through it all, the team has remained focused on providing services to those in need while staying safe.
Refusing to give up on providing services, the CMHP team moved to electronic communication. “They’re connecting [with clients] over the phone, text, email, FaceTime, Skype – whatever it takes, they’ll connect with someone”, Doug said proudly.
In one instance, a client who is unable to leave their home was able to contact Streetscape about options for accessing food. This client’s regular supports are not operating at this time. “A staff member went to the food bank, followed all of the necessary safety protocols, and dropped food off on their front porch”, beamed Doug.
As clients become fearful, especially as many organizations have suspended services, the CMHP team has found an important role in keeping clients calm by connecting them with important resources. For instance, a client expressed concern because of the courthouse closure which resulted in a postponement of their court date. In response, a staff member used the phone to call the client and connect them with the necessary law enforcement officer over Skype so they could meet on this matter. “I’m so proud of the staff we have here. They are willing to keep supporting people no matter what”, said Doug.
In the midst of this upheaval, the CMHP team was determined to continue responding to people experiencing need by persevering, adapting, and inspiring hope. “We’ve always been on the front lines, helping and supporting people who fall through the cracks everywhere else”, said Doug. “The awesome thing is that when the world seemed to be falling apart, it was good to know that people thought of Mission Services as the place to reach out to.”
Visit the CMHP webpage to learn more about this branch of Mission Services of London.
Communications and PR Coordinator
519.433.2807 ext. 2108
Other stories in the We are all in this Together series: