It’s at the Old Brewery Mission, in front of a room crowded with guests and media representatives, that Bell Let’s Talk announced a $300,000 donation to Accueil Bonneau, Welcome Hall Mission and the Old Brewery Mission to support their work caring for those coping with homelessness in Montréal.
In partnership with the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, the organizations will expand the Projet de réaffiliation en itinérance et santé mentale (PRISM), which provides sustained access to mental health care for homeless people with severe mental illness.
Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice Chair Québec, and Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante announced the donation this morning at the Old Brewery Mission to mark Bell Let’s Talk Day. “Bell Let’s Talk is proud to partner with these fantastic organizations to improve mental health services for homeless people in Montréal,” said Ms. Turcotte. “By joining forces, Accueil Bonneau, Welcome Hall Mission and the Old Brewery Mission, together with the CIUSSS, are creating a model for innovative mental health care that will make such a difference for some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
“I would like to thank Bell for investing in Montréal’s community organizations which have developed critical expertise in helping the homeless,” said Ms. Plante. “To adapt services to the specific needs of those suffering from mental illness, we need more innovative, partnership-based projects like PRISM that bring together stakeholders from the community, the municipalities and the public and private sectors.”
A video presentation featuring France, a PRISM participant, was a highlight of the event. After watching her touching testimonial, guests spontaneously turned towards France to applaud her, along with a standing ovation. France gave numerous interviews to the media at the end of the event.
PRISM supports homeless men and women diagnosed with severe mental disorders with transitional housing for 6 to 8 weeks, during which they receive care from a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurses and social workers from the CIUSSS, as well as community advisors and support workers. The focus is on improving the participants’ mental health as a starting point for their social reintegration and access to stable and affordable housing. PRISM provides 42 beds across the 3 organizations, including 10 beds for women at Old Brewery Mission’s Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion.
“Before PRISM was launched in 2013 as a pilot project at Old Brewery Mission, homeless people with debilitating mental health issues were systematically neglected,” said Dr. Olivier Farmer, a psychiatrist at Hôpital Notre-Dame and co-founder of PRISM. “Thanks to the partnership with these 3 shelters, our mental health professionals are able to care for homeless people where they are, where they are welcome and where we know they won’t be forgotten. With an average of 60% of participants moving into stable housing, PRISM is something we can all be proud of.”
“I would like to thank Bell Let’s Talk for supporting PRISM and its model of inter-sector collaboration,” said Matthew Pearce, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. “To adequately address the complex links between mental illness and homelessness, we need new approaches like PRISM that offers a promising new model for changing systems that used to seem set in stone.”