Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Situation Table is reducing critical situations, study finds

Early data on a round-table aimed at helping people who are at very high risk of causing harm to either themselves or other people has found that its interventions were effective 65 per cent of the time during its first nine months of operation.

Early data on the Situation Table finds it is helping stabilize high-risk individuals and families

Lakehead University assistant psychology professor Deborah Scharf says the Situation Table is now looking to expand the number of appropriate referrals it receives. (Lakeheadu.ca)

Early data is now available on a Thunder Bay, Ont., round-table aimed at helping people who are at very high risk of causing harm to either themselves or other people.

The Situation Table is a team of more than 40 community service providers who work to find immediate solutions for people with complex issues; the goal is to stabilize them enough to transition back to using conventional services in the community.  

Research presented Friday at the Showcase of Health Research at the Victoria Inn found that the Table handled 35 cases in its first nine months of operation, and 65 per cent of the interventions led to a reduction in risk.

"Really the Thunder Bay table is doing amazing things," said Lakehead University assistant psychology professor Deborah Scharf.

One such intervention involved a school-aged child who was behaving aggressively and at risk of being barred from attending school, Scharf said.

"So the table—members of the police and also some of the other assisting agencies—went to that child's home, made connection with the family by doing things like bringing food and other sorts of necessities to sort of build those relationships that enabled other service providers to begin working with the family in a way that they hadn't been able to before."

The table, which meets bimonthly, is now ready to take on more work, Scharf said, and it's seeking to expand the number of appropriate referrals from community agencies.

It is also working hard to ensure it stays connected to those agencies, she said, especially at times of staff turnover. 

now