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New projects help improve access to mental health services


$75-million in projects approved as part of new regional mental health plans

Calgary... Alberta mental health services will be expanded with the approval of 30 new projects ranging from outreach programs to day treatment and crisis intervention services.

Approved under the Mental Health Innovation Fund, the new projects will share in $75 million over three years to provide a wide range of mental health services. The new initiatives have been approved as part of new three-year mental health plans developed by all nine regional health authorities.

“These projects will help deliver mental health services to best meet the needs of residents in each health region,” said Iris Evans, Minister of Health and Wellness. “The health regions have developed projects that are not only best for their clients, but also fit with their overall plan for mental health services.”

The projects will provide a variety of services across the province, including a seniors’ mental health outreach service in the Chinook health region, a program to address mental health services for high needs children and their families in the Calgary health region, a day treatment and learning centre for youth in Red Deer and crisis intervention services in rural and aboriginal communities.

Individual regional health authority mental health plans were completed after consultations with mental health organizations, local care providers and community partners.

“The mental health plans are the result of regions and organizations working together for meaningful change,” said Ray Block, president and CEO of the Alberta Mental Health Board.
“We need to change the course of mental health. In Canada, mental illness accounts for $33 billion in disability costs for businesses every year. Studies show one in five people have had a mental health illness at some point in their lives.”

Alberta’s Third Way plan for health renewal calls for improving access to mental health services and setting mental health goals and targets. The Mental Health Innovation Fund projects are expected to be fully operational in 2006.


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