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$1.3M funding for area mental health services

Todd Smith

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith announced nearly $1.3 million in funding for mental health and addictions services in Hastings and Prince Edward counties.

“The impacts of mental illness and addictions have been a huge concern in this riding for a long time,” said Smith in a news release. “It’s great to see the government stepping up to meet this obvious need.”

Three local agencies will receive funding for eight programs stemming from the province’s announcement to spend $174 million this year as part of a 10-year commitment to invest $3.8 billion.

Addictions and Mental Health Services – Hastings-Prince Edward will receive $1,084,555 for programming, as follows…
• $359,300 for opioids addictions treatment and services
• $275,000 for youth residential treatment and withdrawal management
• $200,000 for mental health court support workers
• $140,000 for community addictions services
• $77,366 for programs for priority populations
• $32,889 for a funding increase for a rent supplement supportive housing program

Chief executive officer Garry Laws was thrilled to receive news of the funding.

“On behalf of the clients, families and caregivers who AMHS-HPE serves and is soon to serve, we are pleased to be notified of this $1-million investment. This funding is completely dedicated to front-line addictions and mental health clinical support for people who are seeking clinical recovery from the challenges associated with opioid use and to enhance clinical case management and counselling for both addictions and mental health,” Laws said. “Many thanks to the Province for recognizing how imperative these supports are here to the citizens of Hastings and Prince Edward because this will create more opportunity to serve more clients.”

Peer Support Services of Eastern Ontario will receive $160,700 for peer support services.

Chief executive officer Terry Swift said, conservatively, he expects the funding will support an increase of 2,500 annual visits within the South East Local Health Integration Network footprint. PSSEO is hiring eight community support workers that will facilitate that anticipated 2,500 additional annual visited. One of them is specific to Hastings and Prince Edward.

Peer Support South East Ontario offers three streams of service:
– Support centres delivering services that promote wellness and recovery for those over age 16 with addictions and mental health concerns;
– A transitional discharge program that introduces peer supports to the hospital environment and offers continued support upon discharge to effect positive change and reduce instances of re-admittance;
– and community support programs that reach individuals who have transportation concerns, who live in rural or remote areas, or who will not benefit from the support centre model.

Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc. will receive $27,790 for child and youth mental health.

Executive director Cathie West says the funding will allow the agency to ensure its 24-hour transitional home for youth aged 16-18 will be double staffed at all times.

The home, located in Belleville, provides a home-like atmosphere for nine individuals. It assists youth transitioning back home or to more independent living through individualized care planning, individual and group counselling and therapy, life skills assessment and training, recreation, and skills training.

“We are thrilled to hear about this additional funding,” West said. “Youthab’s Transition Home will now have double staffing on all shifts, making the home safer for clients and staff and allowing us to provide additional programming for the clients in the home. We will also be able to house more barriered clients.”

Smith is also encouraged these investments will ease pressures on Quinte Healthcare Corporation (QHC) hospital emergency rooms, improving wait times and health outcomes for all patients in the Bay of Quinte region.

QHC’s mental health program director Kerry-Lynn Wilkinson shares that optimism.

“Making additional investments in mental health in the region will strengthen services available to help individuals receive the care they need in the community, helping to reduce the number of individuals seeking mental health services at the emergency departments of QHC hospitals,” she said.

Smith indicated the investments announced by Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott –shaped by consultations with service providers, hospitals, advocates, and people with lived experience – are part of a long-term strategy to ensure vulnerable citizens are not left behind.

“Together, we will create a connected system of care with comprehensive wrap-around services to ensure that every Ontarian is fully supported in their journey toward mental wellness.”

Filed Under: Local News

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