Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy endorsed by Calgary City Council
Calgary City Council endorses Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy. This landmark strategy - a community-led effort with stakeholders and community members from within our city – has been endorsed with $9 million funding to build a stronger city where we recognize, acknowledge, help, treat, and support those experiencing issues related to mental health and addiction.
The $9 million, along with $5 million previously released in November 2020, will be invested to support the vision of the Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2023 and its three outcome areas of being well, getting help, and staying safe. Council approved Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Investment Framework, which includes three investment streams: enhanced support for existing evidence-based community programs and services, the Change Can’t Wait! fast pilot program, and targeted investments for evidence-informed projects and initiatives that advance the actions of the strategy and action plan.
While the strategy and action plan were being developed, The City and local partners have been taking action to address mental health and addiction issues in Calgary. From 2019 to 2021, The City invested $3 million annually in community programs for the prevention, early intervention and targeted intervention of mental health and addiction issues. An additional $1 million was invested by The City to take action to improve community safety near Calgary’s Supervised Consumption Service Site. Change Can’t Wait! launched in 2020 with the mission of testing new ideas through a fast pilot process. Change Can’t Wait! resulted in 29 innovative ideas led by local organizations and funded by six local funders, reaching over 7,500 Calgarians.
To support the Staying Safe theme of the strategy, the Community Safety Investment Framework (CSIF) - a collaborative effort between The City of Calgary, Calgary Police Service and community partners – has launched a call for proposals to connect and identify ways to improve support for Calgarians in crisis due to mental health concerns and addictions. CSIF will address gaps in crisis services for individuals, their families and support networks; outreach service; and the emergency response system in Calgary including any gaps in racially and culturally appropriate services.
“This strategy is the first of its kind in Canada; a community-led mental health and addiction strategy and action plan. This is a person-centred strategy that will create support based on an individual’s experience, and provide hope for those on this journey,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “This is the Calgary Model, and I believe that cities all over the world wrestling with this problem will use it as their guide. Our success will happen because it has involved our community from the start. From a $1 million for fast pilots through Change Can’t Wait! to the $9 million we’ve committed to furthering that work, this strategy will work because Calgary is filled with people that care for each other.”
#ConnectTheDotsYYC is a social media and decal campaign to showcase that, through our community, we can connect the dots for Calgarians to access the supports and services they need to be well, get help, and stay safe. Calgarians can pick up a #ConnectTheDotsYYC vinyl decal from any Calgary Public Library starting March 26, or download and print their own at home at Calgary.ca/ConnectTheDots. We’re asking Calgarians to post a photo of their #ConnectTheDotsYYC window decal on Twitter/Instagram, use the hashtag and share their mental health story.
“This community strategy is built on the stories and experiences of Calgarians,” says Karen Gosbee, a community member involved with Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy since it started in 2018. “In my own experience, what I needed most was hope. This strategy is all about creating hope and strengthening support for people, families and communities living with mental health and addiction issues. Mental health and addiction affect us all and our goal is to improve quality of life for all Calgarians.”
For more information, visit: Calgary.ca/ConnectTheDots