By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, along with the MNA for Saint-François, Geneviève Hébert, announced Sept. 25 the opening of L’Éclaircie, a new resource for intervention and crisis accommodation for the Sherbrooke population and surrounding areas. Operated by the Partage Saint-François community center, this resource will be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
In addition to eight new accommodation spaces, it will offer several services, including support and assistance services, psychosocial interventions, short-term post-accommodation follow-up and referrals as needed.
This initiative is made possible by a $10 million contribution over five years from the Quebec government, aimed at three regions that have identified gaps in crisis accommodation services, namely Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Estrie, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The new resources are expected to improve access to local services and temporary accommodation, and better respond to the needs of individuals who require rapid mental health care. This, in turn, will contribute to the recovery of these individuals in their community while reducing the number of hospitalizations.
The Estrie region has seen a significant increase in the number of annual visits to mental health emergency services in recent years, by about 56 per cent between 2008 and 2019. With the pandemic, the Info-Social service also experienced an increase in total calls of over 40 per cent compared to 2019-2020. For crisis calls, there was an increase of over 10 per cent.
The creation of this crisis center stems from the Interministerial Action Plan on Mental Health 2022-2026 – Uniting for Collective Well-being (PAISM). The crisis center will cover the local service networks (LSNs) of Val-Saint-François, des Sources, Sherbrooke, Memphrémagog, Haut-Saint-François, Granit, and Coaticook. The organizations Entr’elles Halte Crise and Le Passant provide accommodation for the LSNs of La Haute-Yamaska and La Pommeraie.
The CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS will act as a partner and collaborator with its main partners in the community, to ensure complementarity, service continuity, creativity, transparency, and mutual respect between them, their equal relationship, and the recognition of each one’s skills and responsibilities.