FREDERICTON (GNB) – Legislative amendments were introduced today to integrate community support orders into the province’s mental health continuum of care.

Community support orders are issued by a physician and agreed to by the patient. They allow the patient to receive care and treatment in their own community, which is less restrictive than being detained in a psychiatric facility. The model for community support orders in New Brunswick will be known as Supervised Community Care.

“Your government is proud to fulfill its commitment to use community support orders to help those suffering from mental illness,ˮ said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “Supervised Community Care will help by offering a collaborative model of care through an integrated, patient-centred approach.”

Boudreau introduced amendments to the Mental Health Act to:

  • prescribe the manner and the conditions under which a Supervised Community Care plan can be initiated in order to provide consistent service to an individual suffering from a serious mental illness;
  • support the integration of Supervised Community Care to the existing act; and
  • ensure that the provisions for the Mental Health Review Boards are updated so that they can review each supervised community care case in a timely manner.

The proposed model encourages involving individuals in a recovery-based approach. It will assist patients along their road to recovery prior to deterioration, which will reduce hospitalization. Patients living with serious mental illness will have an active role in guiding their treatment through choice, facilitated by their team of health-care providers in a familiar environment surrounded by formal and informal support systems.

The New Brunswick model of Supervised Community Care was developed by the Community Treatment Order Task Force whose members were comprised of provincial government staff and individuals representing people with lived experience, families of those with serious illness, First Nations, service providers and administrators.

The provincial government is investing $1.35 million to implement community support orders. Once passed, these amendments will come into effect on Nov.1, 2017.

Supporting those with mental health challenges is a pillar of the New Brunswick Family Plan Framework. The framework aims to improve the lives of all residents by addressing the factors that have the greatest impact upon health and well-being. It focuses government action in seven priority areas: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with mental health challenges; fostering healthy aging and support for seniors; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty; and supporting people with disabilities.