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Home > Information & Resources > Frequently Asked Questions

What is Durham Mental Health Services?

Serving Durham Region since 1987, Durham Mental Health Services is a fully accredited non-profit provider of community mental health services. Our programs help clients, caregivers and the community to respond effectively to the impact of mental illness.

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Who could benefit from your services?

Anyone. Who in their lives – at one point or another – might not have benefitted from reaching out for support? Too often a person who is feeling overwhelmed by their situation will try to “go it alone”, exhausting every possible option before they give themselves permission to pick up the phone and reach out for support.  Anyone who wants support or information on how our programs can help should contact C.A.L.L. for immediate assistance.

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How can I get service?

If you would like to talk to a supportive person at any time, help is just a phone call away. You can access C.A.L.L  (Crisis Access Linkage Line) at any time. Depending on your needs, our call centre can: provide immediate telephone support; arrange a mobile visit or a bed stay in one of our Crisis Services locations; or, help to link you to on-going support, either through a DMHS program or through a relevant community program.

C.A.L.L  905-666-0483 or 1-800-742-1890 at any time.

You can access our services by completing and submitting a “Referral and Request for Community Mental Health Services” form.  You can also have someone submit one on your behalf – a family member, family doctor, psychiatrist, etc.  A copy of the form can be downloaded  here.

Individuals with mental health issues and that are in conflict with the law can access our Court Support team at the Consolidated Courthouse at 150 Bond Street East, Oshawa. 905-743-9384.

Individuals dually diagnosed with mental health and developmental issues can call 905-683-9124, ext. 3266 for consultation and support.

For more information or for assistance with a referral, please contact our intake team at 905-448-0453, ext. 3312.

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Do I need a formal diagnosis?

No, absolutely not. We encourage anyone who is having trouble coping, or feels that they could benefit from our services to call. Our program provides support to anyone living in Durham Region who could use a helping hand.  However, if you are concerned you may have an undiagnosed mental health problem, our staff can help link you with a psychiatrist for assessment.

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Are there fees for your services?

There are no fees for any of our services. We are a registered non-profit agency, funded primarily by the Central East LHIN, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Regional Municipality of Durham.

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Are there age limits?

DMHS provides supportive housing to individuals 16 years of age and older. Our Court Support program has Court Worker dedicated to working with youth charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  Our Crisis Services program works in partnership with Kinark Child & Family Services, Frontenac Youth Services, and CHIMO Youth & Family Services to provide phone support and linkage to these youth services.

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Do you provide medical services?

DMHS is non-medical; there are no doctors on our staff. However, we can help clients access medical supports as needed.

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Are your services confidential?

Along with client safety, client confidentiality is our highest priority. You decide with whom we share information and for what purposes. Please see our Privacy and Confidentiality page for more information.

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Are your services voluntary?

All our services are provided on a voluntary basis. Even when an individual is mandated to work with DMHS (for example, as part of a Court Diversion agreement), the individual can still choose not to work with us – each client makes a free decision to work with us or not.

We understand that the voluntary nature of our services can be frustrating for those who care for someone who sees no need for our service and chooses not to work with us. At times, mental health issues are apparent to everyone but the person experiencing them. In these situations, we encourage family members, friends, and other supports to connect with our Family Support program.

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I don’t have a doctor… can you help?

We can. Our staff work with available resources to help individuals meet their needs – including their medical needs. With the shortage of doctors in Durham Region, our staff can keep individuals informed about doctors accepting new patients and help them access needed medical services through, for example, walk-in clinics or parish nurses.

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“I need counseling… can you help?”

DMHS does not employ professional counselors or therapists. However, our staff all have an educational background in mental health services and can provide supportive listening, assistance in goal setting and achievement, crisis management and other life skills. If your needs include professional counseling, our staff can help link you with one of Durham Region’s professional counseling providers (e.g., Family Services Durham, Catholic Family Services).

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I’m not sure what I need… can you help?

We can. Our C.A.L.L. staff can help you assess your current situation, decide what, if anything, you would like to change, and link you with helping resources and/or services. We know that, at times, just talking with a friendly, understanding person can help.

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What is Crisis Services?

DMHS’ Crisis Services is a wide open door for anyone in need of emotional support or a brief time away from their current situation and personal stressors.  We can offer 24-hour telephone support, a mobile visit at the location of your choice, or a stay in our short term beds.

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What is Community Support?

In our Community Support Programs, a Community Mental Health Worker builds an empathic and supportive relationship with the client in order to foster health and independence. Our staff will help the client to identify unmet needs, develop action plans, and problem solve obstacles, so that they may maintain independence and achieve their recovery goals.

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What is Family Support?

Families often carry the burden of care for loved ones who experience mental health problems and caregivers are often overwhelmed when trying to navigate the mental health system on behalf of a loved one. Our Family Support program offers information and support to anyone who is concerned about someone struggling with their mental health. Our peer groups provide family members the opportunity to meet and share their stories, build support networks, and learn from each other.

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What is Mental Health Court Support?

Mental health court support programs are a bridge between the criminal justice and healthcare systems. Recovery is promoted, recidivism reduced, and public safety enhanced when individuals with mental health problems are helped to access needed mental health supports.

Our staff provide consultation and brief case management to individuals with mental health problems and who are in conflict with the law. One component of the program is the diversion of low-risk offenders from the criminal justice system when mental illness is a presenting issue.

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What is Peer Support?

Peer Support Specialists are helpers with lived experience of mental illness.  Peer support can take many forms – one-to-one interactions, pre-planned groups, or even just sharing time together in recreational activities. Peer support complements and enhances other mental health services by creating the emotional, social and practical assistance necessary for managing mental health problems and staying healthy.

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What is Supportive Housing?

Supportive Housing provides individuals who experience severe and persistent mental health problems with safe, affordable housing while they establish routines and learn the life skills necessary to live independently.   DMHS’ housing programs offer varying levels of support, matched to client needs, as they transition to successful living in the community.

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