Access to Resources and Community Supports

Cota took a leadership role with the revamped Access to Resources and Community Supports (ARCS) program that launched in November 2016. 

ARCS is a referral-base program offering Short-Term Case Management services for people with mental health and addictions related challenges who visit the emergency department (ED) at North York General Hospital (paymaster) and Humber River Hospital.

The program is collaborative, with Cota as the lead community agency working with Bayview Community Services and Toronto North Support Services.

Challenges Faced by Hospital EDs

Cota & The ARCS Steering Committee

ARCS Program

The steering committee is comprised of the partnership agencies and meets regularly to review targets, goals, outcomes, and quality improvement measures.

The ARCS Program offers:

  1. Short-Term Case Management

  2. Comprehensive assessment

  3. Linkages to community supports and services

  4. Linkages to primary care

  5. Mental health education to clients and caregivers

  6. Counselling, support and advocacy

Referrals from ED staff at North York General Hospital and Humber River Hospital are sent to the ARCS manager. The manager distributes individual cases across all three agencies. Case managers work with the referred individuals, assessing strengths and needs. Together they create a service plan that includes: helping individuals build networks and linkages to appropriate community supports, creating personal coping strategies, and providing mental health education to individuals and their families.


The most rewarding part about leading this program is receiving feedback from our staff in regards to clients who have gone through the program...

Ana was 19 at the time of referral, attending University of Toronto downtown. She came to the emergency department (ED) feeling hopeless, lost, and suicidal. She was living with her mother and older sister. Ana’s mother was verbally and physically abusive, and controlled her money. The client expressed that she has been living in fear ever since coming to Canada to join her mother at age 15. Working closely with the doctor from NYGH, the financial aid office at U of T, the bank and MCIS (a language interpretation service), we made a plan for her to have a secure place for her money, find an apartment of her own, pay her tuition fees and learn to manage her day to day life. She is on track to graduate with her Computer Sciences degree in April 2018 and she is in a stable and healthy long-term relationship. Ana sees a bright future for herself.

Li needed help accessing resources at North York General Hospital. After receiving Short-Term Case Management, Li successfully graduated from school. A few months later, she felt overwhelmed and was having issues coping with stress. She reached out to David, case manager on the ARCS team. Together, Li and David worked to find a balance in her life, between succeeding in her career and maintaining a healthy relationship. Through a combination of strength, resilience, the right medication, community resources and close friends and family, this remarkable person has made a balanced and happy life for herself.

This is what she told David a few months later...

The goals of the ARCS program are: 

To reduce unnecessary emergency room visits at Humber River and North York General Hospital, and to ensure that the next time those individuals are in crisis, they know how to access community supports.

Data has shown that:

40% of the individuals who are connected to supports through ARCS do not require Long-Term Case Management.

Together we have identified performance indicators and a process for collecting meaningful data on a daily basis. Thus far, the data is revealing that there has been a reduction in repeat visits to our Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency from individuals who are enrolled in the program or who graduated from the ARCS program. Providing short-term case management is proving to be an effective approach to meeting the mental health needs of the patients in the ARCS program.

– Sandy Marangos, Director, Emergency and Mental Health, North York General Hospital

What We Hope to Achieve

Overall, the ARCS program has allowed Cota to lead and collaborate with two community agencies, and to connect individuals who access the ED at North York General Hospital & Humber River Hospital to needed supports and services.