In Quebec, admission to youth addiction services is handled by a centralized regional assistance request service under public centre (CISSS/CIUSS) management: Mécanismes d’accès (MA). Before our practice was set up, all the young people who sought help from our services had to be directed there. After an evaluation by a counsellor-evaluator, young people were then referred to our services or to those of our partners. Similar to national indicators, our clientele data showed that the number of young people reached and the participation rate in our services were steadily decreasing. Discussion groups with young people and their parents made it clear that there was a dissatisfaction with the admissions process. Many young people didn’t follow up after a first request for help. They saw the process as highly complex, long (several weeks’ wait) and impersonal because they had to meet with a number of counsellors before they could obtain rehabilitation services. With the agreement of the CISSS des Laurentides and the participation of numerous community partners, a new strategy for coordinating assistance requests has been developed. Its objective is to reach more young people at risk. As soon as they make a first contact with our facilities, rather than direct them automatically to the centralized service, we promptly (24-48 hours) offer them an initial, personalized contact with a counsellor and a young person in treatment (patient-partner). After an assessment of their situation, the young person is guided to the service required by Portage or a partner. The number of young people reached has now doubled, and our services are being used to full capacity.
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