Mental health consultant hopes to inspire change in P.E.I.
Todd Leader is meeting with government and hosting a lecture at UPEI Wednesday evening
A Nova Scotia mental health consultant is on P.E.I. to meet with mental health and addiction groups as well as host a talk at UPEI.
Consultant Todd Leader hopes his efforts on the Island will provide people with a deeper understanding of mental health care providers and what needs to change.
"Tonight is about the kind of transformational leadership that's needed in order to take a public service like mental health and addictions … take them and turn them into client-centred systems," Leader told CBC's Compass.
"Often they serve the needs of the system more than they serve the needs of the public. It's not anybody's fault, it's just that that's the way it's evolved," he added.
Dropped wait times in Nova Scotia
Leader helped revamp mental health services on Nova Scotia's south shore, making their programs more client focused.
This means their services have more personal interaction with a client, he said.
We need a real person answering the phone, for instance — the impact it can have on the client is tremendous.— Todd Leader
"We went through this meticulous process of transforming it to make it about the client, about the public, and we achieved much greater public satisfaction."
As a result, he added, wait times for clients dropped dramatically.
What can be done differently?
Leader said there's a few small changes that can have a big influence, like changing a voice-automated call service to a real person.
"If you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or some early psychosis, trying to actually tolerate listening to those numbers and deciding which one you should pick is different for somebody who's having some type of mental illness," Leader said.
- Mental health walk-in clinics added in Charlottetown, Prince County
- Social media and mental health focus for workshop
The automated service is a prime example, Leader said, of a system focused on efficiency rather than client care.
"We need a real person answering the phone, for instance — the impact it can have on the client is tremendous."
Leader held a free public talk at UPEI at McDougall Hall Wednesday night.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | 'Things happen in a funny way': Island artist chosen for national book tour
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Atlantic Canadians remain satisfied with federal Liberals: poll
With files from CBC News: Compass