Provincial government expanding mental health support for youth

Mental health classrooms, hubs, digital supports, and counselling will become more accessible for young Albertans.

The provincial government is expanding mental health resources for youth.

A new partnership between the government of Alberta and CASA Mental Health will give youth the opportunity to access mental health support closer to home.

“Every young person in Alberta deserves the opportunity to access treatment and improve their mental health. If passed, Budget 2023 will dramatically increase access to mental health supports for youth to help families in crisis and provide kids with opportunities to improve their mental health across Alberta,” said Premier Danielle Smith.

If Budget 2023 is passed, an investment of $92 million over three years will provide support for children and youth, a government of Alberta media release said.

The funding would include capital and operating funding for inpatient CASA house sites in Fort McMurray and Calgary, expanding youth day treatment programs across the province, and implementing mental health classrooms.

“Our goal is to ensure that every young person in Alberta is supported in their pursuit of improved mental health. In partnership with CASA Mental Health, we’re expanding a range of treatment options for youth and their families that includes mental health supports in schools, day treatment programs and new inpatient programs to meet the diverse needs of youth in Alberta,” said the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Nicholas Milliken.

The funding will deliver high-intensity services for children and youth in community settings, and is expected to reduce hospital stays, the release said.

CASA Mental Health will also expand four programs, CASA House, Adolescent Day Treatment Program, CASA Mental Health Classrooms, and CASA Core to support young Albertans.

“CASA Mental Health recognizes a need for increased service to the ‘missing middle’ of mental health, particularly over the last few years. We see a growing need to provide specialized service to children and youth with mental illness, requiring more than low-intensity community-based services, but less than intensive hospital services,” said the chief executive officer of CASA Mental Health. “We’re pleased to partner with Alberta’s government to help close that gap and make mental health programming available and accessible to more children and families throughout the province.”

The provincial government will continue efforts to increase mental health support for young Albertans with a focus on prevention and early intervention, with mental health classrooms and hubs, digital supports, and counselling, the release said.

Albertans experiencing addiction or mental health challenges can contact 211 for information on services in their community, including supports like the Kids Help Phone and the Mental Health Helpline.

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