WINDSOR, ONT. -- Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare announced Friday it will soon add a Partial Hospitalization Program to its mental health and addictions services.

It is a program option for individuals experiencing persistent, acute mental illness.

The west-end community-based hospital offering a spectrum of mental health and addiction services said they are reinvesting funds to support the creation of the PHP, and will continue to permanently offer services through its Mental Health and Addiction Urgent Care Centre, which operates at 744 Ouellette Avenue.

“In the initial months of the pandemic, HDGH along with many other health care organizations were forced to defer some of its program and services. We took this time to explore the long-term needs of our community and identify gaps especially as they relate to mental health and addictions,” said Janice Kaffer, HDGH president and CEO.

“What was realized is that we had an opportunity and obligation to provide hundreds of more individuals with the mental health and addictions support they need in continuing to create a high-quality, accessible, local mental health and addictions system people can count on.”

A PHP is a highly structured, short-term treatment program for adult clients aged 16 years and older experiencing acute psychotic and severe or persistent mental health issues.

In a day-treatment, outpatient setting, clients would receive individualized, recovery-focused, goal-oriented treatment by a multidisciplinary team.

“PHPs are quickly becoming the standard of care across leading mental health and addictions providers across Ontario,” said a statement from HDGH.

Officials say the HDGH team is currently working through its operational details, but the program is intended to launch this year.

Along with the PHP, the reinvestment is also expected to ensure a permanent continuation of services at the MHAUCC for the community.

The MHAUCC was opened as a pandemic response by HDGH and the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County Branch in April of 2020. The team of an addiction counsellor, mental health social workers, RPN, and on-call psychiatrists have settled into their permanent home at The Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre located at 744 Ouellette Avenue from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday to Friday.

A yet-to-be-announced portion of government funds will go to an investment in bed expansion for inpatient mental health at HDGH’s Prince Road campus.

“It is no secret that the pandemic has emphasized the mental health and addiction struggles that existed before COVID. As a community hospital leading our community in mental health and addiction service delivery, we have a responsibility not only to respond to these needs but also get ahead of them – the PHP and MHAUCC are examples of this,” said Kaffer.