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40 years of mental health services at SMH

On Thursday, January 30, 2020, Hospital staff, Board members, community partners and local officials celebrated the 40th anniversary of providing mental health services at Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH).

The Mental Health Clinic at SMH opened in January, 1980 to provide a much-needed service to the community. Mary McGill, a nurse at SMH at the time, recognized the need and helped submit the proposal that led to the opening of the Clinic at the Hospital. Within two years of the program operating, the clinic had seen over 1,300 patients. The Clinic changed its name to the Mary McGill Community Mental Health Program in the following years to honour the staff member who was instrumental in bringing the mental health program to the Hospital and the community.

The Mary McGill Community Mental Health Program is thriving today, with over 2,000 counseling/crisis patients and 800 psychiatric consults a year. The Program offers a variety of services to the community for individuals 16 years-old and up, including one-on-one counselling, group therapy, crisis support and a Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic in partnership with Addiction Services York Region (ASYR), which opened in early 2019.

“I’m so proud of this program and what it brings to our community,” says Jody Levac, President and CEO, SMH. “A lot has changed in 40 years and it’s nice to see that mental health initiatives and support are being brought to the forefront in mainstream media and to communities across the country. Mental health has been an important service at Stevenson for so long, and we will continue to support our community members in need with high quality, mental health services close to home.”

Wednesday, January 29th was the 10th year of Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada.

The 40th anniversary celebration at SMH included greetings and certificate presentations from Councillor Donna Jebb on behalf of the Town of New Tecumseth and Anna Kanerva on behalf of MP Terry Dowdall’s office.

Former patient, Bill Brown was also a part of the celebration and had nothing but kind words to say about his experience with the Mary McGill Community Mental Health Program.

“I became a patient after experiencing depression and anxiety triggered by the stock market crash in 2008,” says Brown. “I participated in a 16-week group therapy program and found its teachings very useful. It helps to share the journey with a group of people that are going through the same process as you. I’m thankful that this program exists to provide a venue for those of us in need of mental health support.”

The Mary McGill Community Mental Health Program is located on the grounds of SMH in the white building adjacent to the Hospital at 200 Fletcher Crescent, Alliston. The program is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with crisis support available seven days a week.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call: (705) 434-5140. For more information about the program and services, please visit the Mental Health Services page. 

Councillor Donna Jebb, Town of New Tecumseth presents staff from the Mary McGill Community Mental Health Program at Stevenson Memorial Hospital with a certificate in recognition of their 40th anniversary. (L-R: John McConville, Lorraine Johnston, Tanisha Ross, Gordon Gates and Don Johnson).