Improving the mental wellness of Alberta’s youth
Up to $7.3 million will support the expansion of youth mental health hubs, which provide young Albertans with a one-stop shop for services that improve their mental health and overall wellness.
“Improving youth mental wellness is a top priority for Alberta’s government. Youth mental health hubs are a tremendous example of how community partnerships and community-driven services can make a difference in the lives of our young people and shape the future of our province.”
Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
“It’s important that young people have safe, accessible services to improve their mental health, well-being and resiliency. These youth mental health hubs will make it easier for kids to find the support and tools they truly need.”
Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
Youth mental health hubs make it easier for youth outside of larger urban centres to seek help and support closer to home. A range of services will be available to youth, including mental health and addiction services, primary health care, social services, housing and school-based supports. Partners include community-based organizations, Alberta Health Services, Primary Care Networks and other community partners, depending on the region.
This funding will expand services across the province, including in Medicine Hat. The focus of next steps for youth mental health hubs will be more collaboration with other health and community services, youth and family engagement, reducing barriers to accessing needed services and making sure youth get the right resources at the right time.
Provincial funding will also support the development of a central governance structure to help ensure consistency and alignment of the youth mental health hubs while supporting connections with other provincial services. Virtual supports are also being explored to further expand the reach of youth mental health hubs.
Medicine Hat is the first of these expansions to be announced. The Medicine Hat youth mental health hub will be a shining example of what can be accomplished when community partners come together to support youth in our communities.
“Medicine Hat and the surrounding area have faced a number of challenges this past year with the impact of the pandemic, public health measures and collapse of the economy. This has taken a toll on the mental health of so many people, including our youth. I’m pleased our government is taking these issues seriously and expanding mental health supports for Albertans.”
Michaela Glasgo, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat
“Ours is a strong and resilient community that works together, and the City of Medicine Hat is committed to partnering with the provincial government and other community stakeholders to ensure health and wellness supports are in place for youth in Medicine Hat. Expanding access to integrated support services is a critical step to creating a healthy future for our youth and our communities.”
Ted Clugston, mayor, City of Medicine Hat
“Expanding access to coordinated resources and support for youth and families in our community is welcomed by the Medicine Hat Police Service. An integrated approach of providing wraparound services is the best way to support positive change in the lives of individuals in need.”
Mike Worden, chief of police, Medicine Hat Police Service
“Youth and their supports frequently share the challenges they face in navigating mental health and addiction supports. Youth hubs get to the root of this issue by encouraging cross-sector supports to create a responsive, coordinated, collaborative and holistic service net that meets the youth’s unique needs at the right time.”
Tracie Mutschler, executive director, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association
“CMHA is proud to work with the Alberta government and PolicyWise for Children & Families to support community-led youth hubs throughout Alberta. Youth-centred and prevention focused, these evidence-based, integrated models of care provide a framework that supports a true collaborative approach. Youth hubs are dedicated to improving coordinated access to existing services, increasing accessibility and increasing alignment with youth services provincially. Indigenous and local partners are integral in creating safe, inclusive, culturally based communities for youth and young adults.”
David Grauwiler, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Division
“Alberta Health Services supports working together in a collaborative environment with its community partners to provide teens, young adults and their families access to help they need, when they need it. The integrated service delivery offered by the youth hub approach promotes collaboration among service providers and will provide a circle of services to care for individuals and their families when they need it most.”
Thomas Mountain, senior operating officer, Addiction & Mental Health, Alberta Health Services
Additional announcements regarding the location of expanded and new sites across Alberta will be made over the coming months.
- Youth mental health hubs were first piloted in Alberta in 2017.
- Additional funding for the expansion of youth mental health hubs will be distributed over three years, with approximately $3 million allocated in 2021-22.
- There are currently youth hubs at different stages of development in Medicine Hat, Fort Saskatchewan, Drayton Valley, Fort McMurray, the Tri-region area (Parkland County, Stony Plain and Spruce Grove), Grande Prairie, Enoch Cree Nation and Maskwacis/Samson Cree Nation (delivered in partnership). The services offered vary depending on the location. Additional locations are being explored.
- Supporting recovery from mental health and addiction challenges is a priority for Alberta’s government:
- $140 million over four years to enhance the mental health and addiction care system and create more publicly funded treatment spaces.
- More than $53 million to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery supports to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this, $8 million is allocated to services focused on youth.
- In addition, Alberta Health Services spends more than $800 million annually to provide mental health and addiction services in communities across the province.
- Contact 811 Health Link or Alberta 211 for information about in-person services and supports for youth in your area.
- Learn more about virtual and telephone mental health and addiction supports for youth by visiting alberta.ca.