Mental health review findings will be made public soon, minister says

The findings of a review of Alberta’s mental health and addictions services will be made public soon, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says.

Sarah Hoffman says the committee report will affect AHS, Alberta Health and other stakeholders

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman will lay out what the province plans to do in response to a review of Alberta's mental health services. (CBC)

The findings of a review of Alberta's mental health and addictions services will be made public soon, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says.

The final report of the review, which was led by Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann, was given to the minister just before Christmas.

The report and the government's response to it were expected to be released earlier this month.

But Hoffman says it's important to make sure the report is properly reviewed.

"We owe it to patients and caregivers to make sure we take the necessary time to review the recommendations, consult with our colleagues across government and determine how we can use the committee's findings to improve our mental health system for Albertans, while continuing to work to improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of the health care system," she said in written statement.

Late last year, CBC News reported that suicide rates in Alberta had increased dramatically in the wake of mounting job losses across the province.

There were 252 suicides in Alberta from January to June 2014. During the same period in 2015 there were 327 — a 30 per cent increase. 

Hoffman said the mental health review would include an examination of the spike in suicides.

The committee led by Swann heard from about 400 stakeholders, received more than 100 written submissions and presentations and reviewed about 2,900 online questionnaires.

The review focused on increasing access to addiction and mental health services, addressing geographic challenges, and "ensuring services are inclusive of, and culturally appropriate for, Alberta's diverse population," the province says on its website. 

Alberta's mounting fentanyl crisis was also included in the review. 


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