Wetaskiwin and area residents now have improved access to addiction and mental health services with today’s launch of a new community crisis response team. File photo

Team improves access to addiction, mental health supports

Service provides expanded on-call consultation

Local and area residents now have improved access to addiction and mental health services with today’s launch of a new community crisis response team.

The team of community addiction and mental health clinicians with Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be on-call during evenings and weekends to consult with physicians and help patients who arrive at the Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre emergency department needing specialized crisis support.

“I am pleased to see Alberta Health Services prioritizing addiction and mental health services in Wetaskiwin,” says Jason Luan, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government continues to work with AHS and municipal leaders to ensure people in this area and across the province have access to quality addiction and mental health treatment and recovery services wherever and whenever they need them.”

The service provides expanded on-call consultation from 4:30 p.m. to midnight on weeknights, and from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends and statutory holidays. Prior to this initiative, patients would receive crisis support care but may have had to wait until regular business hours to be assessed by an addiction and mental health clinician.

“By providing this access to professional counselling after-hours, patients and clients are getting the timely care they need,” says Carla Prediger, Interim Program Manager with Community Addiction and Mental Health in AHS Central Zone. “This service will also ease pressure on the emergency department by improving patient flow.

“A high volume of people with addiction and mental health concerns present to our emergency after hours,” adds Prediger. “We are very glad we’re able to help people by optimizing the resources we already have.”

Community crisis response teams also operate in Ponoka, Lacombe, Rimbey and Rocky Mountain House.

Addiction and mental health supports are always available. To find programs and services, call Health Link at 811. For 24/7 support, call the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 or the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642. In an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

-Submitted by Alberta Health Services

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