Council endorses city's $14M mental health and addiction strategy
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and council endorsed the city's $14 million strategy on mental health and addiction Monday
CALGARY -- City council endorsed the city's mental health and addiction strategy Monday, providing $9 million in funding to recognize, acknowledge, help, treat and support people experiencing issues related to mental health and addiction.
The funding comes in addition to $5 million previously announced in November 2020, and will be invested in the city's strategic action plan, which focuses on three outcomes: being well, getting help and staying safe.
In relation to the theme of staying safe, the city's Community Safety Investment Framework (CSIF), in collaboration with the police and various community partners, has launched a call for proposals to help them connect and identify ways to improve support for Calgarians in crisis due to mental health and addiction issues.
The goal of the strategy is to help identify gaps in services for individuals, their families and their support networks, outreach services and Calgary's emergency response system, which includes gaps in racially and culturally appropriate services.
"This strategy is the first of its kind in Canada; a community-led mental health and addiction strategy and action plan. This is a person-centred strategy that will create support based on an individual's experience, and provide hope for those on this journey," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
"This is the Calgary model," he added, "and I believe that cities all over the world wrestling with this problem will use it as their guide. Our success will happen because it has involved our community from the start. From a $1 million for fast pilots through Change Can't Wait! to the $9 million we've committed to furthering that work, this strategy will work because Calgary is filled with people that care for each other."
"This community strategy is built on the stories and experiences of Calgarians," says Karen Gosbee, a community member involved with Calgary's mental health and addiction strategy since it started in 2018.
"In my own experience, what I needed most was hope," said Gosbee, whose husband George, the former owner of the Phoenix Coyotes suffered from mental health issues before committing suicide in 2018.
"This strategy is all about creating hope and strengthening support for people, families and communities living with mental health and addiction issues," Gosbee said. "Mental health and addiction affect us all and our goal is to improve quality of life for all Calgarians."
To learn more about the city's initiative, check out the city's website at Calgary.ca/ConnectTheDots.