Waypoint President And CEO Reflects On The Power Of Possibility And Hope For People With Mental Illness And Substance Use Issues


By Dr. Nadiya Sunderji:

“As I reflect on my first two years as President and CEO at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, I am struck by the transformative power of possibility — and hope.

Keeping pace with increased need demand for mental health, addiction and geriatric care in Ontario is challenging and requires the leadership, innovation and expertise of many team members and partners.

As leaders in system transformation and design, we work closely with partners across Ontario to create seamless care that supports patients in every way. We are grateful to work closely with the Ontario Health Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence and with Ontario Health Central region in imagining a better future and engaging partners in making that dream a reality.

Construction will soon get underway on a new 20-bed acute mental health care unit, which will include the area’s first psychiatric ICU beds so that individuals with increased risk due to severe mental illness will have access to specialized care and expertise. As a regional centre, these beds at Waypoint will benefit patients across the region and relieve emergency department pressures at eight partner hospitals.

We have been pleased to lead collaborative efforts among hospitals in our region to plan for future acute mental health capacity needs, balancing the need to serve a growing and increasingly acute and complex population with the present realities of capital redevelopment. We can be proud of our collective advocacy for investments across the continuum of care, primarily in community services that will better connect patients with the specialized assessments and care they need while further reducing pressures on emergency departments. Our proposal for expanded urgent, emergent and crisis mental health services is also supported by our co-design efforts with people who have used emergency departments for a mental health crisis, and we hope it will influence health care system design for a better future.

Waypoint serves some of the most complex and disadvantaged people in the province. Among our many specialized services, we are also the only Ontario hospital providing high-secure provincial forensic programs to patients who face the double stigma of severe mental illness and justice system involvement. Offering unwavering support, we guide patients through their darkest moments with compassion and expertise. We challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction, and foster an environment where every person is embraced with understanding and acceptance.

I am proud of and grateful to our staff, who consistently deliver high-quality care and provide hope for a better future. Each patient’s journey is unique, and we support their recovery with compassion, dignity and inclusivity.

Waypoint’s vision — to change lives by leading the advancement and delivery of compassionate care — drives everything we do. From best-practice treatments and innovative service delivery models to cutting-edge research informed by patient perspectives, we are pushing boundaries and setting new standards.

Celebrating diversity, encouraging innovation and valuing each team member’s unique contributions is also important to me and our senior leadership team. Looking ahead, we are committed to maintaining an environment where everyone feels inspired and supported to bring forth their gifts.

I remain humbled to work alongside Waypoint’s amazing staff, physicians and volunteers. I’m grateful to the board of directors and senior leadership team for their tremendous support, dedication and trust. I appreciate their contributions to this incredible journey.

Dr. Nadiya Sunderji is a psychiatrist with more than 20 years of leadership experience and is the President and CEO of Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.”


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