Prompt Care Clinic: A celebration of community and collaboration

Editor's Note

This article originally appeared in a special report from The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.


The Prompt Care Clinic began as an idea and a dream to help provide more timely access to mental health services. This concept quickly developed as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold during the late winter of 2020. With the help of many clinicians and the generous support of organizations and our community – both clinically and with financial support from both corporate organizations and our generous donors – within weeks, a new, then temporary model of care, was brought to the community.  

In a regional system of care that did not have a robust model for secondary level mental health care, how could The Royal — a tertiary provider, partner with others to fill a gap? We researched, we listened and we learned from our partners in the mental health field such as Dr. Gillis and her expertise in Shared Care both at The Ottawa Hospital and in New Zealand, from clinics around the province and country and from the research on how to serve people in quick models with impact. In partnership with The Ottawa Hospital, The Royal clinical and leadership teams worked efficiently to launch the formally named, C-Prompt Clinic (C for COVID) to help meet the needs of our community as mental health services and programs were closing one by one, day by day. 

The temporary C-PROMPT Clinic received over 850 referrals in its initial 13 weeks of initial operations. These referrals — 67 per cent for women — covered a range of urgent mental health needs including: diagnostic assessments, medication management, brief psychotherapy, access to lab and Long Acting Injectable medication services and system navigation. This service was a lifeline for individuals in our community who are living with mental illness.  As one C-PROMPT client, Barbara, shared, “Thanks to the C-PROMPT Clinic, I was able to talk with a doctor and finally, I had hope. This service made a tremendous difference in my life and I am so grateful.”

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Based on the positive response to the C-PROMPT Clinic and The Royal’s initial program evaluation, it became apparent that the Clinic was able to successfully fill a gap in services related to the pandemic. It has also confirmed that there is a clear need for expanded secondary level mental health services in Ottawa, in order to better serve people with more serious and complex mental illnesses. 

Many people who had never had access to assistance like this now had a place to receive care. Care that made a difference. Once you see this, you have to keep dreaming, planning and building towards a permanent Prompt Care Clinic model. The Royal proudly opened a permanent clinic on January 18th which recently received its 1,000th referral.

Prior to COVID-19, The Royal embarked on a strategic planning process to reimagine its role, work and services in mental health care. Over the past few months, leaders at The Royal met with care providers, community partners, clients, families and many others about how we can be better. The pandemic has also accelerated the thinking on how The Royal could and should deliver mental health care to those who need it most; the success of the C-PROMPT Clinic was a great example of this and is a model that The Royal can build on for the future. 

Thank you for supporting The Royal’s strategy and development of new and needed models of care. 


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