Mental health and homelessness in Montreal
Mental health and homelessness – The premise is that by improving mental health, we can reduce homelessness since there is a vicious circle linking these two situations. This Thursday, a partnership between the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and the Welcome Hall Mission was announced which aims at ending “chronic homelessness among men by offering mental health services in this shelter located in the western part of Montreal.”
The new initiative is called Program to Re-integrate homeless Individuals Seeking Mental Health (PRISM for its French acronym), and it comes at a time when the issue of mental health is becoming critical for many of the homeless men whom we see hanging out on downtown streets, metro stations, and other public sites. “There is a link between mental health and housing,” said Samuel Watts, Executive Director/CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission. He also made a reference to Montreal as a “city in transformation” with a new vision in which “everyone should have housing.” He added that this is essential for stable mental health too. Mr. Watts praised the new program: “PRISM not only provides a more effective way to fight chronic homelessness but improves management of financial resources by leveraging the existing local expertise.”
On behalf of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, Assistant Director Tung Tram emphasized the importance of the partnership between his organization and the Welcome Hall Mission and how this joint work may help in the efforts to help homeless people who also face mental health issues.
For his part, Dr. Vincent Laliberté, a psychiatrist with CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and head of PRISM pointed out that “Men who use the Welcome Hall Mission can now receive local care from mental health experts. We now go to them, not the reverse.” He also remarked that changes “regarding the issue of homelessness are possible.”
With the incorporation of the Welcome Hall Mission to the PRISM initiative, there are now four sites on the Island of Montreal offering this kind of mental health care to homeless men who come to shelters.
The Welcome Hall Mission (Mission Bon Accueil is its French name), founded in 1892, “is now the largest doorway to help Montrealers in need. A wide variety of programs are offered to support the homeless, young at-risk mothers, families and youth.” Those who want to learn more about this organization could go to www.MissionBonAccueil.com
Feature image: Some of its accommodation. The Welcome Hall Mission has been helping homeless people since 1892