Red Deer City Hall. (Advocate file photo.)

City of Red Deer embraces new approach to mental health and addiction recovery

Alberta government wants to adopt long-term management of mental health issues

City of Red Deer intends to follow the province’s lead in addressing addiction and mental health issues through more self-directed and recovery-based strategies.

In March, the Alberta government released its “Toward an Alberta Model of Wellness” report, which includes a number of recommendations from the Alberta Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council.

The council proposes that the province shift from a care model that emphasizes providing short-term treatment to one that focuses on long-term management of mental health and addictions issues and moves away from a “one-size-fits-all” treatment approach. It is also recommended that clients play a larger role in choosing treatment options in consultation with health professionals.

Clients would also be better served by improving communication between various health professionals and agencies providing help as well as doing more follow-up to see that they are attending programs or getting services. The new approach also calls for more assessment to see if treatment or counselling is working and if not to look at it is a systemic problem and not an individual failure.

The council recommends that a shared vision and collective commitment to treating mental health and addiction be established among, individuals and families to education, justice, health and social servies professionals and agencies to the philanthropic and private sectors. It is also recommended that foundational supports be improved and better systems of measuring outcomes be developed, as well as strengthening recovery-oriented care systems.

In a notice of motion read by Mayor Ken Johnston on Monday, city council says it will use the Alberta Model of Wellness document as a framework in pursuit of a community focus on recovery.

Council directs administration to:

• Integrate a recovery-focused approach into city operations where applicable

• Partner with community agencies around a recovery-focused approach

• Work with the Government of Alberta administration to advance recovery-focused initiatives for the community

• Work with the community to help Red Deerians embrace recovery across the health and wellness continuum of care, in the pursuit of individual and community health, safety, and well-being.

City council is set to discuss the notice of motion at its Oct. 11 meeting.



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