Housing support for Islanders living with mental illness
Strengthening mental health services -
Islanders living with mental illness will soon have better access to housing that meets their needs.
Through a new partnership with Health PEI and the Canadian Mental Health Association-PEI, a 10-bed housing unit will be established this year that will offer long-term supervised housing, transitional “training apartments,” and respite beds. Government’s balanced 2018-19 operating budget invests approximately $1.3 million to help establish the new transition housing.
“We are working to strengthen mental health supports for all Islanders,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said. “We are seeing positive results from the investments we have made through the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and are committed to doing more to improve access to these services. In partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, these new initiatives will provide much needed housing supports for vulnerable Islanders as they transition back into community life.”
The Mental Health and Addictions Strategy 2016-2026 recognizes that many economic and social factors, including lack of supportive housing, impact the mental health of Islanders and the overall health of Island communities.
The partnership between Health PEI and the Canadian Mental Health Association-PEI will allow clients with mental health issues to have a healthy connection to community. It consists of three levels of care including support for transition to independent living, and respite beds for when existing residential placements are unavailable.
“We are excited to partner with Health PEI and look forward to establishing the new transitional housing and outreach housing programs for PEI,” said Matt Younker, president of Canadian Mental Health Association-PEI. “These programs will fill a gap for much-needed housing supports for Islanders with mental health issues.”
In addition, Health PEI clients living with mental health and addiction issues may also have access to “Outreach Housing” program spaces operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association-PEI to support their transition to independent living. ”Outreach Housing” is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing. It then provides additional supports and services as needed, including access to mental health and addictions care.
“We are making progress with improving access to programs and services that address the needs of Islanders living with mental illness. This partnership is an opportunity for us to collaboratively address the need for more ‘step up’ and ‘step down’ supports for Islanders struggling in community or transitioning from hospital ,” said Verna Ryan, Health PEI’s chief administration officer of mental health and addictions. “It is important that we continue to identify opportunities to work more closely with community partners that offer an expertise and ability to enhance access to programs and services that make a difference in the lives of Islanders.”
Several of the provincial government’s “social departments” – including Justice and Public Safety and Family and Human Services – will also benefit from this partnership. This work will ensure better coordination and case management for clients with mental health issues who require a variety of services and supports.