Mental health, addictions strategy sets course for next decade

Prince Edward Island’s new mental health and addictions strategy will be the roadmap to enhance and integrate mental health services in the province for the next 10 years.
Created by Prince Edward Island’s Chief Mental Health and Addictions Office, Moving Forward Together outlines the high-level direction for the province’s mental health system through 2026. It identifies some of the challenges the system faces, lays out five strategic priorities, and will guide government decision making for the coming decade.
“Improving mental health and addictions services is a key pillar of this government’s commitment to improve our overall health care system,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said. “I am pleased to say we now have a long-term mental health strategy that will make a difference in the lives of Islanders now and into the future.
Mental wellness requires an integrated approach, which is why the five strategic pillars of the strategy cut across all areas of government. The pillars are:

• Invest Early: Focus on Children, Young People and Families
• Access to the Right Service, Treatment and Support
• Mental Health Promotion for People of All Ages
• Foster Recovery and Well-being for People of All Ages
• Innovative and Collaborative Workforce
“An integrated approach is essential for a system to offer high-quality physical and mental health care, and we will continue to build on the progress we have already achieved with this strategy as our guide,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “Working together, we can make Prince Edward Island a place where people with mental illness or addictions can recover in welcoming, supportive communities and all Islanders can live life to its fullest.”
The Chief Mental Health and Addictions Office was established in January 2014 with a mandate to create a long-term strategy for mental health and addictions in Prince Edward Island. Now that that mandate has been fulfilled and the strategy delivered, the oversight of the Strategy will be the responsibility of the province’s Social Deputies Committee.
“I want to thank the many organizations and groups that met with me and my team to inform us about the quality services that are currently provided, as well as the gaps and opportunities for improvement,” Dr. Rhonda Matters said. "There are so many caring and dedicated people who make our Island a better place and for whom, a commitment to do more is firmly embedded.”
"The Canadian Mental Health Association - Prince Edward Island Division, looks forward to working with the provincial government and all Islanders to promote and enhance recovery for those individuals whose lives are impacted by mental illness and addictions,” said Reid Burke, Executive Director for PEI’s Canadian Mental Health Association.”
The strategy is available at, Moving Forward Together, Prince Edward Island’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy 2016-2026
Prince Edward Island’s newly released mental health and addictions strategy for 2016 to 2026, Moving Forward Together, is built on five pillars:
• Invest Early: Focus on Children, Young People, and Families
• Access to the Right Service, Treatment and Support
• Mental Health Promotion for People of All Ages
• Foster Recovery and Wellbeing for People of All Ages; and
• Innovative and Collaborative Workforce 
Moving Forward Together offers a comprehensive approach to transforming the mental health system through a clear vision, interconnected strategic priorities and long-term strategies for change.
Prince Edward Island’s Social Deputies Committee has been tasked with the oversight of this Strategy. The Committee includes the deputy ministers from the departments of Health and Wellness, Justice and Public Safety, Education, Early Learning and Culture, and Family and Human Services.
Social deputies will oversee this strategy and ensure it is implemented collaboratively, all across government. Moving Forward Together will be government’s guidepost for decision making in the area of mental health and addictions over the coming decade.
Spending for mental health and addictions has rose 43 per cent - from $28 million in 2007 to over $46 million today. Here is some progress made to date within the provincial mental health and addictions system, as well as what is planned for 2017.
Invest Early: Focus on Children, Young People, and Families
• a new child and adolescent psychiatrist has been recruited and is now transitioning into their role with the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic

• in September the number of hours available for outpatient psychiatrists in the Richmond Centre and McGill Centre was increased by 93 hours a week

• last year, 1,176 children under 17 years of age were referred to Community Mental Health services, of which 952 children were referred directly for clinical therapy services and 224 were direct referrals for psychiatry assessment

• as a result of the Strength Program, in the last 18 months out-of-province treatment referrals decreased from a yearly average of 10 individuals to 0.

• new frontline positions and programming have been added at the QEH Unit 9 to care for children and youth with mental health needs.

• the new Behavioural Support Team will support about 130 cases every year - with focused treatment and services for children and their families.

• the new Strongest Families initiative is providing telehealth support for families in need.

• Recognizing that the foundations of mental health are shaped from the earliest days of life, the Handle with Care program supports the health and well-being of PEI’s youngest children. 100 trained facilitators at Early Years Centres and other locations across the province are supporting parents and caregivers to help children build trust and attachment, self-esteem and relationships with others.

• the Youth Mental Health Day treatment program, will provide a stepped care approach for youth 13 to 18 who are struggling with significant mood, anxiety and or psychotic disorders.

• Trauma informed models of care are being developed and implemented across social departments for children who have experienced harm

• IN 2017, the Women’s Wellness Programs will get underway across the province, providing a range of supports to promote and improve the mental health of new mothers and their infants; and strengthened primary care by family physicians and staff will be rolled out province-wide for Islanders with mental health and addictions challenges.
Access to the Right Service, Treatment and Support
• There are 827 Islanders receiving opiate replacement treatment at three clinic locations across the province with no wait times at any location

• The transition unit at the Provincial Addiction Treatment Facility in Mount Herbert has significantly reduced wait times for the facility, and there has been a drop in addictions-related harms as clients are better supported during their transition to the community.

• The education department’s Multi-Agency Service Teams (MAST) have expanded from 8 to 15 schools

• The justice department has implemented Bridge, a new model for service providers to collaboratively identify and support individuals and families at acutely elevated risk of harm.

• For the first time, community mental health walk-in clinics provide same-day service for clients in crisis and reduce the wait list for community programs

• Group programs have been expanded to include evidence based services for trauma and problematic substance use.

• Acupuncture has also been added to community mental health and addiction services across the Island and free clinics are available on a daily basis.

• IN 2017, Addictions Services and our Correctional Services will partner to expand addictions treatment for incarcerated offenders to weekends and evenings. 
Mental Health Promotion for People of All Ages

• The Triple P parent support program is expanding across the province…there are 76 trained government representatives and community organizations to deliver training and support across a range of parenting issues and needs.

• Efforts will focus on increasing preventative measures to strengthen mental wellness in First Nations communities

• IN 2017, as part of the Wellness Strategy, the Chief Public Health Officer will issue the first Wellbeing of Children Report.
Foster Recovery and Wellbeing for People of All Ages
• The Reach Program is helping to transition young people back into the community.

• The Seniors Mental Health Outreach team expanded to Prince County earlier this year, with plans to expand to Kings County in 2017.

• Family and Human Services will continue to explore housing options for those dealing with mental health and addictions issues by working closely with community partners. 

• Government will partner to deliver CMHA’s evidence based National Flagship Program to seniors,
youth, service providers and others who come into contact with people with mental illness in the community.

• IN 2017, work will focus on ways to build capacity to deliver culturally appropriate programming to refugees in this province.
Innovative and Collaborative Workforce 
• Internal measures will be put into place that will help to promote better health outcomes for Islanders through quality care, patient safety, clearer roles and transitions, and more consistency province-wide.

• The social departments will collaborate more closely to recruit and retain hard-to-fill positions, and to train and develop staff providing care.

Media contact:
Autumn Tremere
Health and Wellness

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