Saturday, March 2, 2024

Smith proposes record funding for mental health, addictions in Budget

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Edmonton, February 21: A $275-million investment in addiction and mental health care was previewed by the premier Tuesday ahead of the tabling of Alberta’s budget next week, with community advocates at a pair of rallies pushing for evidence from the province on how that funding will save lives.

Premier Danielle Smith shared the news in Calgary while addressing the sixth annual Alberta Recovery Conference, a government-funded two-day summit exploring the province’s recovery-oriented care model for addictions.

“It’s clear that now is the time to continue moving forward and to continue investing in our system of care for Albertans,” Smith told the 1,300 delegates.

According to her, the province’s mental health and addiction-specific budget was around $87 million a year in 2019.

Smith said that if the upcoming budget passes, funding for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions will surge to a “record-breaking” level.

Six communities are being built across the province, including in Edmonton and Calgary, with Smith saying the Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Gunn recovery communities are set to open this year.

A further $75 million will go toward designing three new communities, Smith shared.

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