Province increases mental health support

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta says it is spending more than $53 million for more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery support, a move it says will make it easier to access services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know people are struggling right now, and we want Albertans to know that help is there for them through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring folks have the support they need to cope and stay mentally healthy during these tough times, which is why our mental health response is the largest in Canada, with funding greater than all other provinces combined.”

A total of $21.4 million will be spent to improve access to phone and online supports with existing helplines, including the Addiction Helpline, the Mental Health Helpline, the Kids Help Phone and the Community and Social Services Helpline (Alberta 211).

Additional funding will support online resources available to Albertans that support people who may not be able to access face-to-face services. These supports include those in self-isolation or in rural locations.

“It’s important that Albertans in all corners of the province have access to the mental health and addiction supports they need,” said Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These resources will help address the needs of children, youth and adults, and we will continue to work with our partners across the mental health and addiction sector to find innovative ways to support Albertans in need, both now and after the pandemic is behind us.”

The government will also spend $2.6 million to expand individual and group treatment to address family violence, addiction and mental health for Albertans, $4.2 million to expand the addiction and mental health support available through Primary Care Networks, and $25 million for a new community grant program to enhance community mental health and addiction recovery for the public. The latter will include Indigenous communities, seniors, families and people experiencing social barriers, who are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental Health and Addictions Help Line info can be found below:

Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for mental health concerns: 1-877-303-2642.

Alberta’s Addiction Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and problem gambling: 1-866-332-2322.

The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.

The Crisis Text Line Alberta is a service available 24-7 that offers information, referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support for Albertans of all ages, by texting CONNECT to 741741.

Alberta 211 is a free helpline that connects Albertans to community and social services in their area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.

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