Skip to content

New ‘stabilization teams” will help connect troubled youths leaving central Alberta ERs with community supports

It’s an important step onto the path of mental wellness: Mental Health Minister
Children and youths who leave emergency departments at Red Deer hospital and four others central Alberta health care facilities will now get more help in getting connected to community supports. (Advocate file photo)

Additional mental health support will be available for central Alberta children and youths experiencing a mental health crisis.

Hospital emergency departments in Red Deer, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Rimbey and Lacombe are now equipped to support youth in crisis with the addition of a new Alberta Health Services (AHS) addiction and mental health team.

The Child and Adolescent Stabilization Team (CAST) will ensure that patients and their families returning home after leaving emergency departments will be connected to appropriate community services.

CAST will ensure that troubled youths and their families have ongoing mental health services within 48 hours of leaving a hospital emergency department.

“For young people, it is important that we, as a government, are providing the resources and connections they need to get help where and when they need it,” says Dan Williams, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction.

Williams believes this new approach will be important step in getting youth and their families “onto the path of mental wellness.”

Amy Klimosko, a director with Addiction and Mental Health in AHS Central Zone, said “Youth experiencing crisis need to know they are supported.

“We want patients and families to know they are not alone. We are here to walk with them through their recovery journey and ensure they are connected to the right services.”

CAST is available Monday to Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on weekends and statutory holidays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Clients can also call Access Addiction and Mental Health at 1-888-594-0211 for non-urgent addiction and mental health information and services in AHS Central Zone.

For 24/7 emergency mental health support, Albertans can call the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. AHS mission is now focusing on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
Read more