When Murray Hubick met Ross,* he was not in a good place.
Ross was panhandling and sleeping on the streets, after having been banned from every shelter in Regina for bad behaviour. He was in and out of jail, the emergency department and detox centres.
Then Hubick and Regina’s Community Recovery Team got involved. The team is a provincial initiative designed to provide client-centred support to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness for whom traditional mental health services are not frequent or intensive enough.
Left to right: Erin Rissling, Karen Muller, Candice Massier, Murray Hubick, Dane Fleishheckker. Missing Lyann Gibson.
Today, approximately six months after getting involved with the Community Recovery Team, Ross has his own apartment, and access to the food bank and social services. He’s meeting regularly with a psychiatrist and taking his medication every day. He has a good relationship with the police, who recently took him for a ride at his request and treated him to an ice cream.
“When we took him on he was in a very dark place,” said Hubick, Manager of Regina’s Community Recovery Team. “Now he’s not. He’s come a long way. We go to his residence every day to give him his daily meds and a weekly injection, and we have our PAC (Police and Crisis) team visit him on weekends. The police and his psychiatrist can’t believe the transformation from what he was like before to what he’s like today.”
Hubick said at one point Ross got tears in his eyes because he couldn’t believe that people have taken the time for him.
“It’s a good thing,” Hubick said of the Community Recovery Team. “There are people in our community with mental health and addictions issues that need an intense, daily service in order to stay out of the emergency room and psychiatric unit. The community recovery team was created to get these high-end, high-needs people stabilized and hooked up with as many services as possible, so they don’t fall through the cracks.”
There are eight community recovery teams across the province, located in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, North Battleford, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Estevan, Weyburn and Swift Current. Each transdisciplinary team includes social workers, a community health nurse, an occupational therapist, an addictions counsellor and an assessor coordinator. Clients are referred through adult psychiatric units and the emergency department.
“The team works Monday through to Friday, which is working well with this client population because many of them don’t have doctors, psychiatrics, dentists – those kinds of basic medical needs, so the team spends time trying to get these appointments set up and helping clients get to them,” said Michelle Robson, Manager of Saskatoon’s Community Recovery Team.
The teams were launched in late 2018 and early 2019 with funding from the provincial and federal governments.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
Success stories across the province