As part of its commitment to building capacity and knowledge among mental health and substance use professionals, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) has launched ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes). The Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use ECHO is a new learning community that aims to build knowledge, competence, and confidence among those providing care for this population.
"Whether you work in health care, housing, social services or any other industry that engages with the population we are focusing on, ECHO will be relevant to you.”
Open to anyone supporting British Columbians with mental health, substance use, and other related challenges, ECHO features a series of virtual learning sessions. Each session centres around a topic, which will be selected based on input on from a diverse range of stakeholders, including people with lived/living experience of mental health, substance use, and other issues.
"While specialists may be required along people’s care pathways, the reality is that individuals experiencing mental health and substance use issues knock on the doors of all kinds of organizations for support. We want to share specialized knowledge more broadly in order to fill the gaps that currently exist."
“The idea with ECHO is to democratize knowledge—to take it out of the hands of experts and place it in the hands of anyone working with people in this population,” said Deborah Ross, provincial director, strategic initiatives, BCMHSUS. “While specialists may be required along people’s care pathways, the reality is that individuals experiencing mental health and substance use issues knock on the doors of all kinds of organizations for support. We want to provide a platform to share specialized knowledge more broadly in order to fill the gaps that currently exist and better serve these populations.”
The format for ECHO is simple—each session begins with a 10-15-minute talk by an expert in the field, followed by a real case presentation brought forward by a participant. From there, a collaborative brainstorm and discussion between experts, participants and people with lived experience will aim to provide recommendations on the case presented. The ECHO team and subject matter experts, working behind the scenes to pull it all together, will gather recommendations and share them as a follow-up document with all participants. Over time, learners will build up a library of resources, while also strengthening their professional network to support future learning and knowledge exchange.
“As with all aspects of health care, we are learning more about mental health and substance use issues, concurrent disorders, brain injuries and other related challenges, every day,” said Dr. Ashok Krishnamoorthy with the ECHO team. “That is why it is important for us to continuously upskill the workforce and stay up-to-date with the latest and best evidence. That’s what ECHO aims to do—to provide timely, relevant, practical and evidence-based information to service providers supporting these individuals. Whether you work in health care, housing, social services or any other industry that engages with the population we are focusing on, ECHO will be relevant to you.”
The initial series of bi-weekly Zoom sessions kicks off on Wednesday, November 16 from noon to 1pm.
- November 16, 2022: Trauma-Informed Practice with Dr. Linda Uyeda, family physician, Forensic Psychiatric Hospital
- November 30, 2022: Crisis Intervention and Prevention: Focus on Comfort Planning with Dr. Jane Sun, psychologist, Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction
- December 14, 2022: TBD
The Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use ECHO has been funded by the Province of British Columbia and Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP).