We are working to improve the addiction and mental health system in Alberta.
The Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps report, released in June 2017, outlines 18 actions we are taking to strengthen service delivery for people with mental illness and addictions.
These actions are in response to recommendations of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee following a provincewide review.
We will issue regular updates to report on our progress and plans to implement the actions.
We released a one-year progress update in February 2019. It outlines the steps taken on the 18 actions, the achievements so far, and the next steps.
Progress on the 18 actions is a critical part of achieving Alberta's vision for community-based care. Our efforts are focused on better connecting and coordinating health and community-based services so Albertans can receive the right care, and the right time, in the right place.
We are working closely with addiction and mental health professionals, organization, Indigenous Peoples and communities to improve services and supports.
Some of our achievements are highlighted below. For more information, review the progress report and appendix.
Act in partnership: create an integrated system
These activities highlight work to improve the coordination of services between health and community services:
- implemented a community-based service hub model for youth through the Camrose Primary Care Network
- created a comprehensive service listing through 211
- developed pathways between systems to provided specialized services for immigrant and refugee families
- expanded diversion programs for offenders released from provincial correctional centres
Act on access: enhance the role of primary health care
These initiatives helped front-line health professionals know more about addiction and mental health and have resources to better support people in need:
- progressed on defining the role of primary care
- increased counselling capacity through sexual assault centres and the eating disorder support network
- provided mental health first aid training to first point of contact service providers
- supported people with adverse childhood experiences through the Zebra Child Protection Centre and child advocacy centres across the province
Act early: focus on prevention and early intervention
These activities focused on efforts so fewer Albertans would require addiction and mental health services and make it easier for people to find supports in their communities:
- supported mental health services in schools and post-secondary institutions
- applied harm reduction services to respond to the opioid crisis through supervised consumption sites, naloxone kits and support for Indigenous communities
Act on system enhancements, legislation and standards
These initiatives reviewed existing services, explored legislative options and developed standards to ensure Albertans can access safe, quality addiction and mental health supports:
- developed regulations and standards for addiction providers
- released the Finding Quality Addiction Care Guide, the first of its kind in Canada
- passed the Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis
- engaged Albertans on the need to licence and regulate private addiction facilities
- provided grant funding to support Indigenous Peoples work to develop culturally informed minimum service standards for residential addiction treatment programs
We continue to work with our partners to improve addiction and mental health services and supports in the province. Over the next year, this work will include:
- improving information sharing
- testing community integration models
- supporting people with adverse childhood experiences
- increasing technology-based solutions
- developing a youth suicide prevention plan
- developing regulations and standards for addiction providers
- updating the Mental Health Act
- exploring funding models, clarify roles and responsibilities
Mental health review timeline
Our one-year progress update outlines the steps taken on the 18 actions, the achievements so far, and the next steps.
Government released Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps, which outlined 18 actions to respond to the review committee recommendations.
- Helping Calgary’s homeless get the right support (June 8, 2017)
- New mental health, substance use beds at Royal Alex (June 6, 2017)
- New children’s mental health clinic opens in Edmonton (June 5, 2017)
The committee released their final report, Valuing Mental Health: Report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee. It contained 32 recommendations.
The government accepted the report and took immediate action to implement the 6 recommendations identified as priorities.
News: Alberta acts on mental health recommendations (Feb. 22, 2016)
Albertans and stakeholders were invited to participate in the mental health review. The committee received almost 2,900 online questionnaires and more than 100 written submissions. About 400 stakeholders participated in sessions or gave presentations.
News: Albertans can now provide ideas to strengthen addiction and mental health services (Sept. 1, 2015)
The Alberta Mental Health Review Committee was appointed to complete a comprehensive review of the mental health system in Alberta. Members included:
- Dr. David Swann, Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and MLA for Calgary-Mountain View
- Danielle Larivee, now Minister of Children's Services and MLA for Lesser Slave Lake
- Tyler White, CEO for Siksika Health Services
- Heather Sweet, MLA for Edmonton-Manning
News: Liberal Leader Swann to co-chair mental health review (June 15, 2015)