New CONTACT Program Provides Innovative Care for Durham Region

January 22, 2009

(Whitby, Ontario) January 22, 2009
Creating Opportunities Now to Achieve Community Transition (CONTACT) is the newest program offered by Whitby Mental Health Centre to patients in Durham Region and the surrounding area. CONTACT offers a number of recovery-based services targeted at skill building, supportive opportunities and vocational/transitional programming.

“CONTACT is a new model of care that offers treatment options that are tailored to the individual needs of patients. It is based on the recovery philosophy, which values hope, empowerment, choice, and respect in the development and implementation of its programs,” says Paula Podolski, Administrative Director, Assessment and Reintegration Program at WMHC.

Using a peer mentorship approach, the program brings together individuals to inspire hope through connecting with others who have achieved their optimal wellbeing. Patients select from a variety of programs such as skill building activities, family support initiatives, community connections, artistic impressions, drop-in centres, community kitchen and reintegration through recreation.
Podolski says recovery is treated as a journey, not as a destination. “Patients identify the goals they want to achieve and work in collaboration with our staff as they strive to achieve those goals.”
CONTACT has also developed community partnerships to support patients during their recovery. Whitby Baptist Church, John Howard Society, WynField Long-Term Care facility and YMCA Oshawa have partnered with CONTACT to provide facilities, workshops and services.
Kevin has greatly benefited from these partnerships and spends one afternoon a week at the WynField Long-Term Care facility to coordinate and facilitate recreational activities for their residents. “It is rewarding and feels good to help out. I have a lot of fun and the seniors appreciate what we do for them,” says Kevin. CONTACT is open to any individual who is recovering from mental illness. It welcomes both inpatients and outpatients of WMHC as well as members of the community. For more information about CONTACT, please call 905-430-4055 ext. 6783 or ext. 6307.
About WMHC
Whitby Mental Health Centre is a public hospital that serves a population of 2.8 million residents and employs 1,100 people. WMHC provides a range of specialized mental health programs for inpatients and outpatients throughout a primary service area that includes Durham Region, York Region, Scarborough, Toronto, Haliburton, Northumberland, Peterborough Counties and the City of Kawartha Lakes. WMHC also operates treatment residences in Stouffville and Oshawa; provides specialized community outreach services; and supports residents in privately operated Homes for Special Care. In addition, the Centre is actively involved in mental health research and education activities.

WMHC and its Board of Directors are committed to working in consultation with the community at large towards reaching its vision and implementing its strategic directions. For more information on strategic planning initiatives and operational data, or to provide feedback on program services, policies or the facility, please contact WMHC Information at 905-430-4001 or

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 4001