Victoria Divisions of Family Practice

Mental Health and Substance Use

Improving care for Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) patients has been a strategic priority for the Victoria Division since its inception.

The MHSU working group has been instrumental to achieve sustainable improvement. In collaboration with Island Health and the South Island Division of Family Practice, the Victoria Division implemented a comprehensive Shared Care initiative. It included:

1. Improving MHSU care in GP offices: GPs are supported to better identify, diagnose and treat MHSU conditions in a regular office visit. Key activities have been a Learning Series in which people with lived experience, specialists, fellow GPs, and allied mental health professionals provide training to GPs on topics including addictions medicine, cultural safety, youth MHSU, and more. (You can find speaker videos from some of these events on our YouTube channel here.)
2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Group Medical Visits (GMVs): This collaborative model of care has psychiatrists and GPs co-facilitate group visits that teach CBT skills. Both CBT and GMVs fill a service gap, providing people with mild-moderate depression and anxiety with low-barrier access to care, and supports collaborative practice between GPs and psychiatrists. Evaluations indicate significant clinical improvement as well as strong individual satisfaction. Due to its high impact, the local CBT team has become a separate, permanent organizational entity outside the VDFP. The approach has also been adopted by other divisions. Visit their website for more information.
3. RACE: This tool gives Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise with local (Victoria-based) adult and child & youth psychiatrists. Click here to learn more about RACE.
4. Island Health partnership: The MHSU care access working group recognized early in its process the necessity of partnering with Island Health (IH) MHSU to improve referral processes, collaborative care, and patients’ access to services beyond community-based primary care. GPs helped develop a South Island Crisis Service, worked with IH to revise the referral form to adult MHSU services, and support GPs in the community to take on and care for patients with MHSU concerns.

Focus on the Victoria Primary Care Network

The MHSU working group then focused on supporting Victoria Primary Care Network planning. In 2019, the group held a series of meetings to prioritize MHSU opportunities for PCN service planning and develop recommendations.

You can view their July 2019 PCN recommendations under the PCN tab, located under "Our Impact” in the member-only area.

The Victoria PCN service plan was approved in March 2021. Since 2022, PCN members can refer patients to a MHSU consultant who is part of the interdisciplinary care team. 

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