Ministry Reports

Program Policy Framework and Service Standards for Mental Health Services and Supports


A Program Framework for Mental Health Diversion/Court Support Services

February 2006

Where appropriate, mental health diversion/court support services re-direct people with a mental illness from the criminal justice system to mental health services, and/or provide mental health services to those in the criminal justice system. Diversion is appropriate for people whose alleged offence is considered to be low risk and whose mental health needs can be met through services based in the community.

  • Diversion services are provided pre or post conviction to link the person to community or institutional mental health services.
  • Court support services are provided in the courts to assist the judiciary, to support people with mental health needs and their families with the legal process, and to link people to required services.

Diversion/court support services :

  • Provide linkages to a comprehensive system of mental health services and supports including crisis response/emergency services, safe beds, court support services, intensive case management and supports to housing.
  • Facilitate access to needed services and supports.
  • Involve key players from the criminal justice, health and social service sectors.
  • Provide referrals and consultation to those not suitable for diversion.
  • Offer supports for family members/support networks.
  • Improve the person's quality of life.

The document sets out the target populations for diversion/court support services and provides details of service functions for each service type.

The next step will be the development of standards, performance outcomes and measures to monitor and enhance the provision of diversion/court support services and supports.

The full report is available for download below in PDF format :

Program Policy Framework for Early Intervention in Psychosis

December 2004

  • There is convincing evidence that the longer the duration of untreated psychosis, the poorer the outcomes. Longer delays in treatment are associated with greater resistance to treatment, lower rates of remission, and a greater burden on health and social service systems.
  • Early intervention in psychosis programs have demonstrated the capacity to reduce the need for inpatient care. Research studies in Ontario and reviews of studies conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that hospital admission rates were significantly reduced for clients who were receiving treatment and support from early intervention in psychosis programs. Experience in other jurisdictions indicates that intervening early in the course of a psychotic episode and reducing the length the duration of untreated psychosis may reduce the long-term impacts of the illness on the individual and the family.
  • For several years, Ontario, other Canadian provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia, and other jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, Australia, New South Wales, and Norway have been developing early intervention in psychosis programs.

The full report is available for download below in PDF format :

Crisis Response Service Standards for Mental Health Services and Supports

May 2005

Crisis response services are a key part of the continuum of mental health services and supports for people with serious mental illness. Crisis response services offer treatment and support to individuals experiencing a crisis. They provide immediate relief from symptoms, prevent the condition from worsening and resolve the crisis as soon as possible. Because mental health crises differ in their origins and symptoms, crisis response services must be able to respond to individual need by providing a range of appropriate services in a variety of settings. Services must be integrated and coordinated within the broader mental health system to meet differing needs, including those of individuals currently accessing other mental health services as well as those accessing the mental health system for the first time through crisis response services.

Crisis response services provide individuals with timely access to a variety of crisis service options such as telephone crisis response, walk-in services, mobile crisis outreach, crisis residential services, and psychiatric emergency/medical crisis services. These services reduce unnecessary hospitalization and improve quality of life for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis through symptom relief and access to on-going support to prevent future crises.

The full report is available for download below in PDF format.

Intensive Case Management Service Standards for Mental Health Services and Supports

May 2005

Intensive case management services are a key part of the continuum of mental health services and supports for people with serious mental illness. Intensive case management promotes independence and quality of life through the coordination of appropriate services and the provision of constant and on-going support as needed by the consumer. The direct involvement of the consumer and the development of a caring, supportive relationship between the case manager and the consumer are integral components of the intensive case management process. Intensive case management is responsive to consumers' multiple and changing needs, and plays a pivotal role in coordinating required services from across the mental health system as well as other service systems (i.e., criminal justice, developmental services, addictions). Case managers fulfil a vital function for consumers by working with them to realize personal recovery goals. Case managers work to build a trusting and productive relationship with the consumer and to provide the support and resources that the consumer needs to achieve goals, stabilize his/her life and improve his/her quality of life.

The full report is available for download below in PDF format :

Ontario Program Standards for ACT Teams

January 2005

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a client-centered, recovery-oriented mental health service delivery model that has received substantial empirical support for facilitating community living, psychosocial rehabilitation, and recovery for persons who have the most serious mental illnesses, have severe symptoms and impairments, and have not benefited from traditional out-patient programs.

To view Portable Document Format PDF files, you will need to have Adobe Acrobat® Reader installed on your computer. You can download this free software from the Adobe website.

August, 2006

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm

If you are a member of the media, call Communications and Marketing Branch at 416-314-6197 or visit our News Room section.