North Bay, ON, March 26, 2020 – Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca (Hands) is here to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the current pandemic, the agency has changed the way it serves clients, moving the majority of its services to online and telephone support, and is reassuring families and clients that Hands remains ‘open’.
“The safety of our clients, our employees and the public is our top priority and we are happy to report that over the past week, Hands has been able to transition to telephone and online delivery for the majority of the services we provide,” said Andrea Roberts, CEO of Hands.
“Our child and youth mental health services are especially important in these difficult times. We will continue to offer counselling services and walk-in clinics over the phone and online. As well, for children and youth experiencing a mental health crisis and their families, our crisis line will remain open to ensure that they do not need to go to an emergency room for help.”
“Hands plays a crucial role in our region. There are families and individuals counting on us and we need to be there for them in difficult times, even if our services look a bit different,” continued Roberts.
Several of Hands’ program areas were already providing client services remotely. Over the last ten days, as social distancing became paramount, the agency has been preparing to move most of its other programming to a remote delivery model (phone or online). Now that services have been transitioned, Hands has closed all offices to the public.
Hands has reached out to all current clients to explain the service changes and determine the best way to offer confidential treatment and support during this time. Hands is also continuing to accept new clients within the current delivery model.
Hands provides professional services in the areas of: adult developmental services, autism, child development, child and youth mental health, justice services and navigation supports. They provide services to more than 11,000 individuals in North Bay, Nipissing, Muskoka, Parry Sound, and Northern Ontario each year.
Current Service at HANDS:
For children and youth in crisis, Hands’ Crisis Services are available 24/7 by calling the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-844-287-9072 to receive support.
Hands Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) counselling clinics, typically offered in-person as a walk-in clinic in North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Sundridge, Huntsville, Bracebridge and Parry Sound, have transitioned to an online format. Hands CYMH services now offer bookings for counselling clinics online Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Clients can book an appointment by calling 1-800-668-8555. Once registered, clients will receive instructions to connect with a Child and Family Therapist online.
Great Beginnings Prenatal Nutrition and Growing Up Programs in Bracebridge and Parry Sound have moved their regular meetings to a Facebook Live setting to stay connected and share key information.
Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) North East Region services are operational through video conference and telephone to offer assessments and service navigation. Staff members are available at 1-855-376-6376 and email [email protected].
Passport Services continues to support families via phone and video conference at [email protected] or 1-800-668-8555 ext. 5550. Clients should be aware that paper invoices can be dropped off in our secure outdoor mail boxes, however, the processing time will be delayed. Contact your passport coordinators to find new solutions to submit your invoices
Complex Support Coordinators and Health Care Facilitators continue to support people with complex needs and collaborate with community partners via telephone and videoconference.
Developmental Support Services and the North Community Network of Specialized Care (NCNSC) Clinical Team continue to provide clinical services by video and/or teleconference. New referrals can be accessed through the DSO (Developmental Services Ontario), while active clients can contact 1-800-668-8555 ext. 4223 to be connected with your clinician.
Hands has also developed a page of curated resources to help clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources. The website features coping resources such as how to discuss the pandemic with children, how to explain the pandemic to someone with challenges related to comprehension or communication, and family supports during social distancing. The website is available here.
Hands is dedicated to helping children, youth, adults with a developmental disability and families, receive the best possible care and help they need when they need it most. Hands’ team is comprised of Child and Family Therapists, Youth Counsellors, Behaviour Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists and many other health care professionals who are committed to providing care in our community.