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Original Research

Mental health collaborative care: a synopsis of the Rural and Isolated Toolkit

Submitted: 10 September 2009
Revised: 23 April 2010
Published: 23 July 2010

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Author(s) : Haggarty JM, Ryan-Nicholls KD, Jarva JA.

John HaggartyKimberley Ryan-Nicholls

Citation: Haggarty JM, Ryan-Nicholls KD, Jarva JA.  Mental health collaborative care: a synopsis of the Rural and Isolated Toolkit. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2010; 10: 1314. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


Context:  For those residing in rural and isolated parts of Canada, obtaining quality mental health services is often an unfulfilled wish. Rural and isolated communities share the problems of health status and access to care. Health deteriorates the greater the distance from urban areas in the following dimensions: lower life expectancy than the national average; higher rates of disability, violence, poisoning, suicide and accidental death; and more mental and physical health issues than those who live in urban areas. The Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Initiative (CCMHI) was formed to provide, in part, a practical means to encouraging collaborations between primary care and mental health providers.
Issue:  This article provides a synopsis of the Rural and Isolated (R&I) toolkit developed through the CCMHI, which was intended to develop primary care and mental health collaboration in such areas. This toolkit was developed using focus group discussions with mental health providers, and surveys completed by providers and consumers.
Lessons learned:  Key messages from the consultative process included: access to services; interprofessional education; consumer involvement; research and evaluation; models of collaboration; ethics; funding; and policy and legislation. A flow diagram was devised to detail the synthesis and practical application of the toolkit, as well as the challenges, key questions and principles of implementation associated with collaborative care initiatives in rural and isolated regions.

Key words:  collaborative care, isolated, mental health, primary care.

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