Teams improve access to addiction, mental health supports

September 13, 2021

RED DEER – Wainwright and Camrose area residents now have improved access to addiction and mental health services with the expansion of crisis response teams in their communities.

These teams of Alberta Health Services (AHS) addiction and mental health clinicians – including mental health therapists, registered nurses and addiction counsellors – will be on-call during weekends to consult in-person with physicians, and provide counselling to patients in need of specialized crisis support who arrive at emergency departments at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose and the Wainwright Health Centre.

“Alberta’s government is improving access to addiction and mental health care for Albertans across the province,” says Mike Ellis, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We are working with Alberta Health Services to ensure individuals have access to treatment and recovery resources sooner rather than later.”

Launched on Sept. 10, the service provides on-call counselling and support on Fridays from
5 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to midnight, Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and statutory holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Prior to this initiative, patients would receive crisis support care but may have had to wait until regular business hours to be assessed by an addiction and mental health clinician.

“We know that a significant number of individuals with addiction and mental health concerns present to our emergency departments after hours,” says Maribela Arruda Block, Director, AHS Addiction and Mental Health, Central Zone-Rural East. “By providing this access to professional counselling after-hours, patients and clients can get the timely care they need in the moment, and support for follow-up care.”

Community crisis response teams also operate in Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Lacombe, Rimbey and Rocky Mountain House.

Addiction and mental health supports are always available. To find programs and services, call Health Link at 811. For 24/7 support, call the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 or the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642. In an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.