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Mental health and addiction services expand to help more Albertans

by NationTalk on March 5, 2012371 Views

March 5, 2012

Government confirms commitment to ongoing role of Alberta Hospital Edmonton

Edmonton… Expanded mental health and addictions programs will mean better outcomes for Albertans coping with mental illness and addiction.

As part of its investment in people and communities in Budget 2012, the Alberta government is:• expanding support for people with complex mental health and addiction needs in the community, including investing in outreach and wrap-around services in support of affordable housing initiatives;
• providing more support for programs and services at Alberta Hospital Edmonton;
• increasing access to psychology and other counselling services in primary health care settings; and
• expanding the Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Initiative to more schools and enhancing other school-based supports for children and youth.

In addition to the $25 million from Budget 2012, government will support an estimated $15 million renovation at Alberta Hospital Edmonton to create four specialized mental health inpatient units with 80 beds.

“This investment is the first stage in implementing Alberta’s Addiction and Mental Health Strategy. Enhanced support for some of the most vulnerable in society and reaching out to children and youth are critical,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health and Wellness. “I also want to affirm our government’s ongoing support for Alberta Hospital Edmonton. The staff at this facility play a crucial role in providing high-quality mental health care regionally and provincially, and serves as a referral centre for the North.”

The Alberta government has earmarked $25 million in Budget 2012 to implement these first initiatives from the provincial addiction and mental health strategy. Sixteen government ministries worked with diverse stakeholders in the addiction and mental health community across Alberta to determine where programs are most needed.

“Alberta Hospital Edmonton has historically been the home base for many of the current community mental health programs. Today’s announcement will help us continue to be a leader in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, education and research,” said Dr. Daniel Li, President of the Medical Staff Association, Alberta Hospital Edmonton. “This investment will also help increase access for Albertans who need hospital-based mental health services.”

“The Alberta government’s integrated services will increase much needed supports to the community, and significantly enhance the implementation of programs such as Housing First,” said Susan McGee, Executive Director, Homeward Trust Edmonton. “Increased access to addiction and mental health supports will improve the ability of previously homeless Albertans to achieve and maintain housing and create strong ties to the community in which they live.”

Budget 2012 invests in people. It allocates approximately 75 per cent of provincial funding to the core programs of health, education and human services without raising taxes, while forecasting a return to a balanced budget by 2013-14.

Attached: Target areas for immediate support

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Eilish Lemieux
Health and Wellness
Twitter: @goahealth
Facebook: YourAlberta

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

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