CALGARY — The UCP Government will be allocating around $3 million this year to expand youth mental health hubs across Alberta.
“Seventy per cent of mental health challenges start in childhood and adolescence,” said Tracie Mutschler, Executive Director at McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association.
Mutschler also explains youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely than any other group to experience mental illness and substance use disorders, and suicide is the second leading cause of youth deaths in Canada.
“If you’re an indigenous youth, you’re five to six times more likely to die by suicide than your non-indigenous friends,” she said.
However, she believes hubs like these can enact positive change.
“Together, we are going to be able to challenge these statistics, creating connections and support necessary for youth wellness, setting our greatest assets and our province up for a very bright future,” she said.
“Improving mental wellness for young people is a priority of this government,” said Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
Ellis says they are planning on having 12 hubs provincially, eight of which are currently in operation and four of which are being planned, and implemented right now.
The $3 million is part of $7.3 million the UCP will be spending on this initiative over three years.
.@MikeEllisUCP announces $7.3 million, over three years, $3 million this year to expand mental health hubs across Alberta. More to come…
— Kayla Bruch (@KaylaBruch1) July 20, 2021
“These hubs provide a one-stop-shop.
Each hub is tailored to meet the needs of their community. Services may include mental health, addiction,” said Ellis.
Despite the wide range of support and services offered, he says the emphasis will be placed on prevention and early intervention.
“As well as creating better access to specialized services, if required,” he said. “We want youth to get help before they’re in crisis.”
Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz explains growing and transitioning into adulthood is not easy at the best of times — but especially after the year and a half we have had.
“We have to continue to be there for young people to help them meet the challenges that lay ahead of them and to grow into healthy, happy, productive adults,” she said.
The government says there are hubs in different stages of development in Medicine Hat, Fort Saskatchewan, Drayton Valley, Fort McMurray, the Tri-region area (Parkland County, Stony Plain, and Spruce Grove), Grande Prairie, Enoch Cree Nation, and Maskwacis/Samson Cree Nation (delivered in partnership).
For information about services and supports for youth, contact Health Link at 811 or Alberta 211, or you can click here to learn more about virtual and telephone mental health and addiction supports for youth.