Alberta dedicates $53M to mental health and addiction recovery services

Albertans will get better access to mental health and addiction recovery services thanks to the provincial government.

The announcement came on April 15, that the money will be used to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery support, making it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta 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. 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,” said Jason Kenney, Premier.

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

Funds will also be allocated to help with online resources, available to Albertans, to those who may not be able to access face-to-face services, including those in self-isolation or rural locations.

Here is what the funding announcement also includes:

  • $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
  • $25 million for a new community grant program to enhance community mental health and addiction recovery for the public, including Indigenous communities, seniors, families and people experiencing social barriers, who are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The need for mental health supports as a result of this very stressful situation are increasing daily and will continue to do so long after this outbreak has ended. This funding from the Alberta government means we can increase the 211 crisis lines, hire staff so people can reach a live person as well as provide support to those staff who are answering the calls, which can be very stressful in itself. This is vital funding that will make a difference in the lives of so many Albertans,” said Rob Yager, president & CEO, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

This one time funding is in addition to a previously announced $140 million to create publicly funded addiction recover spaces for roughly 4000 more Albertans every year.

Mental health resources:

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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