Mar 27

Current Government Approach to Mental Health and Addiction Treatment in Saskatchewan

saskatchewan drug rehab and alcohol treatmentEvery month we look at another province, and what their provincial government’s approach to mental health and addictions is. This month we are looking at Saskatchewan, but it is posing as a unique challenge. Saskatchewan released a 10-year mental health and addictions plan for the province in 2014. However, it is now in the process of dissolving its 12 health authorities into one singular health authority for the province. Will this have an impact on the province’s ability to deliver on its action plan points? Read on for an in-depth look at the 10-year action plan and how the government hopes to improve mental health and addiction treatment in Saskatchewan.

Working Together for Change: A 10 Year Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Saskatchewan

Working Together for Change was commissioned by the provincial government in 2013 to create a 10-year mental health and addictions plan for Saskatchewan. The report was delivered to the health minister in December 2014 and had seven main recommendations to improve mental health and addiction treatment in Saskatchewan.

  1. Enhance access and capacity and support recovery in the community.
    Services need to be made easier to find and a comprehensive list needs to be kept up to date. The report suggests promoting the use of HealthLine so those who need its services can find it. A big part of this recommendation is increasing access for people living in rural areas. In order to provide timely treatment, the recommendation suggests online clinical treatments, as well as mobile services.
  2. Focus on prevention and early intervention
    The report stresses the importance of community-based organizations for prevention like youth drop-in centres and preschool programs. As well as pushing for more programs to address alcohol misuse, suicide prevention, and general mental health awareness.
  3. Create person and family centred and coordinated services
    Similar to the existing Patient First method, the report emphasizes the need to centre the person with the lived experience. To get people help when they need it, no matter where they asked, training for all frontline providers will allow people to access treatment quicker. This should also aid in those with more than one need get help across service sectors.
  4. Respond to diversities
    Increasing cultural awareness training so those in vulnerable populations like newcomers to Canada or LGBT people are able to gain access in a respectful environment.
  5. Partner with first nations and Metis people
    Partnering with First Nations and Metis people is the best way to coordinate and deliver mental health and addictions services. Steps must also be taken to ensure a constant dialogue and incorporation of traditional and holistic care models.
  6. Reduce stigma and increase awareness
    Similar to the previous two recommendations, sensitivity training and developing an awareness program are the suggested next steps.
  7. Transform the system and sustain the change
    Collaboration between departments with shared future goals and commitment is a must for any sustained change. The report also recommends public and private sectors work together to create both employment and housing options.

Moving Forward

The report was released at the end of 2014. Then Minister of Health, Dustin Duncan, endorsed the report and reinforced the government’s commitment to improving services. Between 2007 and 2014 funding for mental health services had increased over 30%.  Hopefully, the recent changeover in health authorities does not bury these recommendations for increased mental health and addiction treatment in Saskatchewan. As the year goes on, keep an eye on our blog as we will report more on Saskatchewan’s unveiling of the new health authority. If you or a loved one needs help looking for mental health and addictions treatment in Saskatchewan, please contact our specialist.

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