5 Tips for Navigating Community Resources

5 Tips for Navigating Community Resources  

In times of crisis, navigating the mental health system can be overwhelming.   

Eastside Community Mental Health Services (ECMHS, or Eastside) has offered crisis meetings and single session therapy sessions to individuals, couples and families for 30 years. Today, we also offer support navigating our social and health care systems. We call this support ‘system navigation.’ Helping our clients with this is an effective way to build their knowledge and confidence on their path to wellness. We consider system navigation an essential component of effective mental health support.  

Eastside’s structured system navigation support for individuals, youth, and families helps to figure out the right service at the right time by the right team of health care providers.  

It also offers:  

  • Immediate help to lessen distress  
  • Assessing risk, if necessary, and offering relevant information and connections to necessary social and health systems.   


Here are 5 tips from the team at Eastside:  

  1. Get referral-ready. Take a breath. Grab a piece of paper and a pen or bring up the ‘Notes’ app on your phone. Answer the question “In an ideal world, the service that I think would help me/us is ___________ because __________.”  Try to be as clear as possible about your needs or the needs of your family before making connections. Make a list of questions. Taking this time will help you, it will help us, and will help to create a better plan.   
  1. If you have a family doctor, start there. It is helpful to rule out any physical health problems that might contribute to the current crisis or mental health concern. This connection can also begin referrals to long-term support that might have a waiting list.  
  1. Call Eastside Community Mental Health Services at 403-299-9699. Eastside is one of the only places in our community that provides immediate mental health support and system navigation. We are an ethno-cultural team of counsellors, therapists, and system navigators who work together to ensure you and your family feel confident, competent, and have a sense of relief.    
  1. If possible, ask someone you trust to help you take your next step. This could be a friend, guide, comforter, or even a note-taker. You can also learn from peers who have navigated the mental health system through peer support programs offered by organizations such as the Calgary Mental Health Association, Outlink, and Kickstand.  
  1. Keep track of your past services and share your experiences with professionals. This will help find the best fit for you or your family.  


Immediate support and information can also be found at   

  • Access Mental Health. A great resource when you want to be informed about or directly referred to mental health resources. 403-934-1500