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New and expanded ECHO sessions offer important learnings to apply in mental health, substance use care

Following the success of its 2022 fall series, the Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use ECHO returns on March 1.
ECHO aims to build capacity among clinicians, care providers and those working with individuals with mental health and substance use issues to provide better services in all parts of B.C.
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​To date, ECHO has seen close to 250 participants coming together across three sessions to discuss and share novel solutions to real challenges. This year, it is expanding to cover a wider range of topics connected to mental health and substance use, including stigma, supporting people with challenging behaviour, recognizing psychosis, psychological health and safety, and much more. Session topics were generated from ideas and perspectives of people with lived and living experience, as well as people working in mental health, substance use, and supportive housing settings. This ensures sessions hit on topics that are important and relevant to participants.

The format will continue as before – each session starts with a 15-minute talk led by an expert, followed by a real case presentation brought forward by a participant. From there, collaborative brainstorming and open discussion will aim to provide recommendations on the case presented.

To date, 75% of participants who provided feedback, including health services managers, clinical educators, nursing staff and peer support workers, say they strongly recommend the Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use ECHO to colleagues as a positive learning experience.

Bringing people together from rural and remote parts of the province

As a virtual forum, ECHO is available to participants in all parts of B.C. This means examples of successful approaches and interventions can be shared among service providers who may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect. 

Nancy Fenner, an integrated community care coordinator with Interior Health, participated in a previous session and has seen positive results from sharing her case presentation. 

"Here in our community, we don't necessarily have access to the same types of networks as people in more urban areas," said Fenner. "I wanted to get new eyes on one of our more challenging cases where we have been through almost all the 'obvious' approaches. This particular client is homeless, has addiction issues, and a brain injury. These issues are compounded by age-related challenges like incontinence and a risk of falling. ECHO helped us learn about services, approaches and facilities in the province that we can lean on for these kinds of cases. It was great to get input from around B.C." 

Anita David, lived experience strategic advisor for Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use ECHO has been involved as a facilitator and presenter and has found benefits to both.

"With so many webinars and learning opportunities out there, ECHO brings something different," said David. "The unique format means there are didactic pieces, Q&As, real case presentations, discussions and solid recommendations. Sessions are action packed but there are benefits to everyone, participants and presenters alike. After just three sessions, I have found myself coming back to things that I learned and applying them in my own work. I can attest to how effective ECHO is."

In addition to attending sessions, ECHO participants have access to an online resource library and a shared community of practice, and recommendations created through the collaborative case discussion that can be used to support people in a range of services and settings. This means that the learning catalyzed by ECHO continues after the session is over, supporting participants as they apply these new skills and ideas in practice, in a process of continuing professional development. 

Register for upcoming ECHO sessions today.

The ECHO Spring 2023 Series launches on March 1. Each session includes a presentation by a guest speaker, followed by case presentation and discussion.

Date: March 1
Presentation: The impacts of stigma on individuals and strategies to improve care, presented by Chris Lamoureux, leader of patient experience; BCMHSUS

Date: March 15
Presentation: Motivational Interviewing (MI): Resistance as the entry point, presented by Rick Johal, MSW, RSW, senior leader, Provincial Education, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services

Date: March 29
Presentation: Introduction to functional analysis: A tool for understanding and support, presented by Heather Fulton, PhD, R.Psych, psychologist, Royal Columbian Hospital, adjunct professor, Department of Psychology, clinical instructor, Department of Psychiatry, UBC

Date: April 12
Presentation: Recognizing and communicating about psychosis, presented by Christy Sutherland, MD, medical director, PHS Community Services Society

Date: April 26
Presentation: Supporting clients with psychosis (Title TBC), presented by Mahesh Menon, Ph.D., R.Psych. clinical lead, BC Cognitive Remediation Advanced Practice, psychologist, BC Psychosis Program UBC Hospital

Date: May 10
Presentation: Psychological health and safety session 1 (Title TBC), presenter TBC

Date: May 24
Presentation: Psychological health and safety session 2 (Title TBC), presented by Devon Silvers, MSc, lead, Psychological Health & Safety, BCMHSUS 

Date: June 7
Presentation: Recovery session 1 (Title TBC), presenter TBC

Date: June 21
Presentation: Recovery session 2 (Title TBC), presenter TBC

If you would like to present a case study during an ECHO session, please fill out the case study presenter form and email it to the ECHO team.

Have questions? Email the ECHO team.

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