What is Harmonized Health?

Leveraging everything the team had learned since 2017, the HH pilot was developed through a client-first lens while respecting where either the individual or family was at.

The HH program was designed around four key pillars: knowledge and understanding, standardized comprehensive assessment, integrated services, and connected, holistic recovery.

Harmonized Health diagram
Drawn hands holding diagram

The Harmonized
Health Model

The project funded some mix of mental health services for 45 individuals and 70 family members. Whether initiation came from an individual or a family, clients were provided with a community-based, team approach to holistic care in a unique and integrated way.

Community integration, processes, and technology were layered in to ensure cohesion between the community and providers. The team used common language as a cornerstone, and two physicians received some degree of specialized mental health and/or training.

Highlights of the HH program include:

A Community Care Team provided a critical bridge between clients, service providers, and medical professionals. This team had multiple functions, from establishing systems and processes to providing community touchpoints for clients.

A Care Coordinator was established as the first point of contact for individuals or families seeking help. The Coordinator took time to really listen and provided high-level HH philosophies and guiding principles, and early introduction to brain health in layperson language.

Upon client agreement, individuals were connected to a medical home and aligned with a physician with some degree of specialized mental health and addiction training. A comprehensive assessment was provided as a standard. After assessment, access to some combination of individual counselling, intensive outpatient therapy, and facilitated group therapy were made available.

Families with loved ones struggling with mental health or addiction challenges participated in a 10-week group program. This program addresses how to have honest, healthy conversations about difficult situations while learning how to manage the associated conflict and stress.

Fee-based services were funded by the project.

Group meetings for both individuals and families through a community-based Peer Navigator network rounded out and supported the client’s experience.

“21 years I was no better than a prisoner, I was only ever a number. Every appointment I would have to retell a portion of my story and they usually forgot my name.”
~ HH Client

Drawn hands reching out to each other

The Clients

Clients who participated in the HH project had generally experienced years of unsuccessful outcomes within the current health care system. As a result of participating in HH, clients reported outstanding results. Individual clients reported a more than 80% improvement in their quality and coordination of care. In almost all cases, a family’s developmental strengths improved because of the Families Helping Families program. Clients appreciated the person-centred approach of the HH model—that they were no longer ‘just another number.’ They wanted someone to treat them as a unique individual, taking the time to listen to their story and guide them on their recovery path. They wanted a safe space to put up their hand and reach out for help.

Families who participated in CFS Families Helping Families noted this was the first time the focus was put on them as the caregiver. They expressed an overall 93% satisfaction with the program.

The Community Peer Navigator system was used extensively. Participating individuals checked in with their Community Peer Navigators 6.75 times on average during the pilot, and 50% participated in weekly community support groups.

Clients reported removing costs as barriers was often a determining factor in seeking and accessing quality care.

Further Information

Executive Report Client Journeys Evaluation Report

The TUF documentary, independently produced by Pipehouse of Calgary, and made possible with STORYHIVE funding, is available for free on TELUS Optik™ TV On Demand. The documentary summarizes the importance of the Harmonized Health project through a client’s lens and is highly complementary to the reports noted above. Please be aware that the video content includes mentions of death, suicide, and addiction.

Suicide continues to be the number one preventable death in Canada. After losing their son Braden to suicide in 2015 and with the driving question, “How did this happen to our boy?” the Titus family started the Thumbs Up Advocacy Foundation to drive positive change to mental health and addiction care from the grassroots level. The Foundation’s Harmonized Health project embraced a new way of doing things by integrating community, professionals, and physicians to develop a community-based mental health care and treatment model for individuals and their families. Watch as Kari talks about her remarkable addiction healing journey as a Harmonized Health project participant as she develops resiliency and learns to take self-responsibility and accountability.

Watch the TUF Documentary