Navigation programs are an important short term strategy to help families make their way through a complex & often segregated array of mental health services. They are also a path to direct action to resolve barriers to care, achieving systemic reform. Having recently received a grant & some Board funding to test such a program, the NCDC will assess the extent to which it can influence the latter.
At a systems level, by liaising with families with lived experience, mental health support groups & clinicians, adjunct care agencies & funding bodies, the navigator will “map the system” resulting in the identification of the common challenges & service gaps facing families & highlight promising practices & potential opportunities for systemic change.
At a clinical level, clients are initially triaged by a NCDC Zone Team. If a Team cannot manage a client's needs, the navigator will enlist support from the broader community, promoting agency collaboration & integration of mental health services.
At an individual level, families engaged in program development will, with peer support, begin to advocate for change.
Work at all levels will, we believe, change the way we interact with clients, provider groups & funders; identify pressure points & force a reallocation of resources internally & externally; inform public policy. It expects us to be innovative, to rethink the current landscape & acknowledge that systemic change requires patience, persistence, & commitment.