Government working to strengthen mental health, addictions services

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Health Minister Susan Sullivan. — Telegram file photo

Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan says she's hopeful collaborative efforts, spearheaded by a provincial Mental Health and Addictions Community Leadership Committee, will begin to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness and addictions.

The minister said in a news release the provincial government recognized the importance of engaging communities and individuals directly affected by mental health and addictions issues when it established the committee to provide advice and recommendations to the province on awareness and anti-stigma initiatives.

 The committee consists of 20 participants, 10 male and 10 female, throughout the province with personal or family experience of mental health and addictions issues, including a focus on the perspectives of seniors and youth, homelessness and health promotion and wellness.

“Over the last couple of years, our government has made significant investments to implement an E-Mental Health and Awareness Program,” said Sullivan. “The goal of this program is to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and addictions and increase access to services to help combat these issues. The establishment of the community leadership committee will allow us to seek input and advice from people dealing with mental illness, which is crucial when developing initiatives tailored to meet the needs of individuals.”

Two requests for proposals (RFP) were issued recently as part of the E-Mental Health and Awareness Program.

The first RFP is for the development of two interactive e-mental health and addictions websites, one for youth and the other a knowledge exchange portal for stakeholders.

The second RFP is for the development of a mass media awareness campaign to help decrease the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and addictions.

Over the past three years, the province has invested about $29 million to support mental health and addictions throughout the province. This includes $15.5 million, announced in its 2012 budget for the continued development of the youth treatment centres in Grand Falls-Windsor and Paradise and the adult addictions treatment centre in Harbour Grace.

Organizations: Community Services, Mental Health and Addictions Community Leadership Committee

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor

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Recent comments

  • Wanda
    October 05, 2012 - 10:52

    I agree with the comment by Responsible. Taxpayers' money is used by the millions on addictions to drugs and alcohol, which is self-inflicted by starting in the first place while you still have your common sense and wits about you, only to have the majority return to their addiction once the program or rehabilitation period is completed. However, Mental Illness is a huge bottomless black hole of hopelessness and helplessness which is a disease or illness. Many, with proper services and medication, struggle through with it each day. But it is almost impossible to get a psychiatrist the past year due to the passing of Dr. Hogan, and illness of Dr. Nurse who has been off work for numerous months now. If only a G.P. could refer us to a day program or somewhere to get help and understanding. I attended years ago and it was very helpful.

  • Margie
    October 04, 2012 - 20:45

    How were the committee's twenty participants selected? I have been through the mental health system (not addictions) for decades, and to hell and back, and there again over and over. I didn't see any advertising or requests for volunteers or even hear of it until now. I would have liked to participate. Minister Sullivan, all the millions of dollars of our taxpayers' money is being distributed through "rose coloured glasses" and hopes and promises, not reality.

  • Responsible
    October 04, 2012 - 17:06

    Mental Health - yes fund it well but addicition services. Yea! Spend the money on idiots that self indulged in alcohol and drugs at the expense of people who got sick through no fault of their own. Want to dry them out or get the crooks off drugs then prison works well.......... Spend our precious resources on the sick that deserve it.

  • Graham
    October 04, 2012 - 11:20

    How exactly will you do that Minister Sullivan? By eliminating more jobs and cutting funds? That sure as hell seems to be your style lately. What an absolute joke YOU and the GOVERNMENT you are a part of have become. Bring on the next election so we can bring transparency honesty and integrity back to our province. Bill 29 that you and the rest of Kathys Clowns voted for and passed killed democracy in this province. The sooner we give you and the clowns the boot the better off we will all be.