Investment in staff training boosts service capacity

As the Lead Agency for mental health services offered in Durham, York and Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes/Peterborough, Kinark Child and Family Services made significant investments in staff training last year to increase service capacity and consistency in these communities. More than 250 staff from 19 different agencies attended the one, two and five-day evidence-based courses held throughout the past year.

Staff from Kinark, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and Peterborough Youth Services attended the one-day program(s) on single-session intervention in preparation for the launch of a new waitlist management service in Peterborough. The goals of the pilot project are to better support children and youth currently on the waitlist for mental health services, and to help ease increasing demand on the Health Centre, which has seen a spike in mental health-related visits to its emergency department over the past 10 years.

DBT training participants from various mental health agencies take a break from their studies.

Based on needs identified by the core service providers, Kinark also hosted multiple two-day training sessions on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and five-day courses on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)—two types of treatment used extensively in community-based mental health—to support and sustain evidence-based practice across its service areas.

The response from training participants has been enthusiastic according to Lead Agency Project Manager Cheri Smith, who says attendees were grateful for the opportunity to broaden and enhance their skills.

The capacity building workshops have led to the creation of two new communities of practice—one for providers of single-session intervention and another for DBT—where therapists can support one another and continue to develop their skills through information sharing, case consultations and joint problem-solving.