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More mental health and addictions support at small emergency departments in central Alberta
Red Deer Advocate - 1/24/2023
Crisis response teams at Innisfail, Olds and Sundre emergency departments are now available evenings and weekends to provide support for those experiencing addiction or mental health distress.
Alberta Health Services says an AHS addiction and mental health clinicians team – including mental health therapists, registered nurses and addiction counsellors – will be on-call during evenings and weekends to consult in-person with physicians and provide counselling to patients needing specialized crisis support who arrive at the Olds Hospital and Care Centre, Innisfail Health Centre and Myron Thompson Health Centre emergency departments.
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.
On-call counselling and support will now be available on Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
Community crisis response teams also operate in Ponoka, Lacombe, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Drayton Valley, and Wetaskiwin.
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"We know many individuals with addiction and mental health concerns present to our emergency after-hours. We are pleased to be able to optimize the expertise we have in place and ensure individuals are getting the timely care they need," said Carla Prediger, West Rural Addiction and Mental Health director with AHS Central Zone, in a statement.
Mental Health and Addiction Minister Nicholas Milliken said the province is building a comprehensive recovery-oriented system of addiction and mental healthcare and is working with AHS to ensure individuals have timely access to treatment and recovery resources.
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Access Addiction & Mental Health is the access point for non-urgent addiction and mental health information and services. In AHS Central Zone, call 1-888-594-0211.
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.