Spatial Access to Community and Specialized Mental Health Care in Toronto: A Case of Mental Health Crises

Authors: Lu Wang*, Ryerson University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Applied Geography
Keywords: Spatial accessibility, mental health, Two-Step Floating Catchment Area model
Session Type: Paper
Scheduler ID: WED-069-5:20 p.m.
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor


Mental illness refers wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behaviour. One in five Canadians has mental health care needs, many of which are unmet. Within the City of Toronto, the provision of mental health care is delivered primarily by over 100 public and private community service organisations and over 700 physicians with a psychiatric specialization - each providing community-based general or specialised care to residents in need. Using spatial quantitative methods, this study examines potential spatial accessibility to mental health services within the City of Toronto, and levels of association between access to care and prevalence of mental health crisis events. A wide range of datasets is analyzed including occurrence data for apprehensions under the Mental Health Act undertaken by the Toronto Police Service. A revised Enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) method is used to compute spatial accessibility to community and specialised mental health services based on ,four modes of transportation: driving, walking, cycling and public transit. Areas that are underserved by mental health specialists and community services are identified and their socioeconomic characteristics are analysed. This study provides spatial explicit patterns of accessibility to various mental health services in Toronto, providing detailed data to inform planning and policy of mental health care delivery particularly to those with severe mental health conditions.

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