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Ment Health Fam Med. 2009 Mar;6(1):21-8.

The Sooke Navigator project: using community resources and research to improve local service for mental health and addictions.

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Sooke Community Health Initiative and University of British Columbia, Department of Family Practice, Sooke BC, Canada.


Our rural BC community engaged in an innovative action research project to improve access to mental health and addiction (MHA) services for citizens and increase connections and communication between primary care, community-based providers, and the formal mental health service system. Developed by a community-based steering committee, our Navigator model is aimed at anyone with mental health and addictions issues seeking help in our region. The model includes the following services: timely needs assessment, collaborative assistance with need-based care planning, appropriate information, referral, and linkage facilitation. Key features of the Navigator model are discussed, including community engagement, guiding principles, and a description of the service is provided. In our rural and remote community, a community-supported Navigator model was effective in increasing access to comprehensive, strengths-based assessment, planning and referral facilitation.

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