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Edmonton service streamlines addiction, mental health care

June 17, 2019

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Catherine de Beaudrap, mental health advocate and ambassador for Access 24/7, stands outside Anderson Hall where individuals seeking mental health and addictions services will be able to access a centralized system which helps navigate the complexities of healthcare. Access 24/7 will provide round-the-clock in-person assessment, crisis outreach and stabilization services, tailored to individual needs. Photo credit: Sharman Hnatiuk

Access 24/7 centralizes services for adults navigating complex system

Story by Vanessa Gomez | Photo by Sharman Hnatiuk

Access 24/7 has begun taking in adult patients looking for centralized addictions and mental health services in the Edmonton area.

“We believe this is a big step towards us becoming the co-ordinated and integrated addiction and mental health system that Albertans deserve,” says Mark Snaterse, Executive Director of Addiction and Mental Health with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

The service aims to help patients, families and staff experience navigate the complex system of addiction and mental health services. Access 24/7 is made possible with the support of the Government of Alberta, which contributed $1.325 million; AHS, which committed $2.8 million for operational and staffing costs; and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation and community donors, who provided an additional $1.1 million towards renovations, equipment, and peer and family support workers.

“We couldn't be more grateful for the support of our donors and are thrilled to see their donations in action here today," says Andrew Otway, President and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

Located in Anderson Hall, Access 24/7 will provide round-the-clock in-person assessment, crisis outreach and stabilization services, tailored to individual needs. The team is supported by mental health therapists, nurses, addiction counsellors, social workers, peer support workers, family peer support workers, psychiatrists, pharmacists, support staff, protective services and EMS, as well as community supports from the Edmonton Police Service and RCMP.

Catherine de Beaudrap struggled with anxiety and depression that started in her early teens.

“Anyone who goes through mental health or addiction issues is going to have a story that is individual to them, but what is universal amongst so many of our stories is the struggle to get help,” says de Beaudrap, a mental health advocate and ambassador for Access 24/7.

Now, as a teacher and mother, de Beaudrap says she expects Access 24/7 to provide an easier journey for people struggling with addictions or mental health concerns.

“What this facility is going to do is give hope,” she says. “This is going to help break the silence and isolation that so many of us go through when we’re dealing with a mental health issue or addiction issue. We’re going to get access to the care we deserve.”