Case Example

Example IconThe setting for this collaboration is a small rural community. The public health and primary care staff shared the position that their community lacked sufficient mental health resources. Moreover, there was a frustration felt by the community that this problem of substandard mental health services had been ignored much too long.

A Common Vision
One of the most important precipitators to initiate the public health and primary care collaboration was that the members shared a common vision to address the problem. There had been previous unsuccessful attempts to address the community situation.

Shared Beliefs
The difference this time was that the public health and primary care staff shared the belief that it was important for the whole community to have enhanced mental health resources and services and that the only way to achieve this successfully was through a formal intersectoral public health and primary care collaboration.

IMG_WorkingTogetherSpecifically, the collaboration was initiated to address the following: The rural community’s absence of local data on the use of mental health and addiction services; their actual lack of mental health and addiction services; and existing barriers in accessing mental health services. The collaboration was sufficiently successful to achieve much more.

Shared Values
The members of the public health and primary care collaboration identified the shared value that a timely and easy access to mental health and addiction services for the community was paramount. The public health and primary care workers knew that the most important beneficiaries of a successful collaboration would be the mental health community clients themselves.

The public health and primary care staff formed a collaboration to work together. Over a period of several months, they collected the necessary data through a community survey. The members of the collaboration reviewed the information as a team in order to make informed choices on the strategies to address the community circumstances.

All members of the collaboration were willing to make some necessary changes and to move the collaboration forward by developing processes that would support the community as follows:

  • To establish one centre to access mental health services and resources,
  • To improve easy access especially for the youth of the community,
  • To develop a web-based resource inventory,
  • To enhanced communication and relationships between public health and primary care partners,
  • To initiate community engagement built on local capacity.

As a matter of sustainability, the public health and primary care collaboration members helped initiate a community steering group that provided an enduring, strong voice for the community.

In analyzing the collaboration’s success, the members felt the most important aspect was members’ shared values, beliefs, and attitudes. It was this factor that greatly strengthened their efforts in achieving the collaboration’s goals.

The public health and primary care partners addressed challenges in a non-confrontational manner, expressed openly their attitudes, and valued transparency and accountability during the entire collaboration experience. They commented on their collaboration by sharing their following observations.

 

Attitude Comments