The clinic, which is celebrating its official grand opening, provides a range of programs and services for children and youth aged four to 18.
“Improving the mental health and well-being of Alberta’s children and youth is a priority for our government. The Rutherford Mental Health Clinic helps families living on Edmonton’s south side receive these critical supports more quickly and much closer to home. Making sure kids and teens can receive counselling and other mental health support services is key in helping them build happy and healthy futures.”
The $1.6-million clinic features an exam and treatment room, a play therapy area, a counselling room with telehealth capabilities for group sessions and therapeutic spaces. The new clinic nearly triples the capacity of specialized clinic-based mental health services delivered by Alberta Health Services in Edmonton. Previously, Northgate Clinic, which accepts 800 new patients annually, was the only children’s mental health clinic operated by AHS in Edmonton.
Currently, the clinic has 10 staff members, including:
five mental health and substance-use therapists
a family counsellor
a specialized youth substance-use counsellor
a consulting child psychiatrist
“The mental health of our youth and their families affects us all. AHS is committed to improving access for all families in need of substance use and mental health services by continually adapting programs to meet the needs of our young population and by providing patient-centred care. We’ll continue working with our partners to develop a coordinated and integrated response to further improve the substance use and mental health services Albertans need.”
The new clinic also supports the recommendations in the 2015 Valuing Mental Health review, which shows the symptoms of mental illness often appear in childhood and that early interventions and supports are vital.
“The Canadian Mental Health Association is encouraged to see a direct connection between the 32 Valuing Mental Health recommendations and action taken by the Government of Alberta. Clear lines of access to services and supports in the community is a critical step in helping children, youth and families access the help they need in a timely way.”
Budget 2017 allocates $15 million in dedicated funding to support the recommendations in the Valuing Mental Health review. Overall, Budget 2017 invests more than $80 million for mental health and substance use supports – a 64 per cent increase in funding over the previous year.