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Alberta acts on mental health recommendations

Creating new addiction treatment beds is among several immediate actions the Alberta government is taking in response to the Mental Health Review. 

“The Albertans who took part in the Mental Health Review shared their experiences with courage and strength. I wish to thank the members of the review committee and everyone who came forward to provide their ideas and feedback. We look forward to working with our partners as we begin to build on the vision for a stronger mental health care system in our province. ”

Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Health

"The current mental health system is not meeting the needs of an increasing number of Albertans. We can and must do better. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Albertans have heard this. Successful implementation of the Mental Health Review will require a higher level of leadership from Alberta Health, and the new AHS board, than that provided by previous governments. Today's six priority recommendations are an excellent start."

Dr. David Swann, Co-chair, Mental Health Review Committee

The Valuing Mental Health report, which is now available on the Alberta Health website, includes 32 recommendations aimed at supporting mental health by strengthening service delivery for Albertans with mental illness and addictions. The Alberta government has accepted the report and will begin immediately addressing six recommendations identified as priorities.

The six priority recommendations are:

  • adding medical detoxification beds for adults, including six to eight new beds in Lethbridge and converting 20 beds in Red Deer;
  • expanding access to addiction treatment by opening three new social detoxification beds for children and youth in Calgary;
  • working in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to develop an opiate addictions action plan;
  • increasing technology-based solutions by launching a child and youth mental health website in spring 2016;
  • developing a performance monitoring and evaluation framework to track results on report recommendations and benefits to Albertans; and
  • establishing an Addiction and Mental Health Implementation team to work with community and health partners to coordinate implementation of the report.

“This report from the Mental Health Review committee is a welcome contribution to addiction and mental health care in the province. With recommendations ranging from prevention and health promotion, to treatment and ongoing support, the report is an opportunity for organizations across the province to work with government to make the improvements that are needed.”

George Ghitan, Executive Director, Hull Services

 “Alberta Health Services is grateful to all who offered feedback to the Mental Health Review Committee. These recommendations will help AHS and our partners continually improve care, supports, and outcomes for those suffering from addiction and mental illness. Now more than ever, we need to provide Albertans affected by mental illness and addiction with the care and services they need.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, Interim President and CEO, Alberta Health Services

The implementation team will begin reaching out in the coming weeks to partners and stakeholders to lay the groundwork for subsequent implementation phases.

The Alberta government initiated a comprehensive review of Alberta’s addiction and mental health system in June 2015, appointing Alberta Liberal leader Dr. David Swann and the Honourable Danielle Larivee as co-chairs. Tyler White, CEO for Siksika Health Services, and Heather Sweet, MLA for Edmonton-Manning, joined Dr. Swann and Minister Larivee as committee members.

The committee delivered its final report to the Minister of Health on December 23, 2015. 

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