By Cole Parkinson
Westwind Weekly News
While the COVID-19 pandemic may feel like a distant memory at this point, Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter says there are still several effects still being felt. The main one is mental health and with discussions continuing around those initiatives, Hunter sees a need for more support for southern Albertans.
“COVID has been really tough on families and we have to work with the struggles that families have, especially in mental health issues,” he said.
While tons of programming is continuing to come online to help those in need in regard to keeping up on their mental health, there can always be additional supports put in place. And while Alberta may have the facade of being tougher than nails, Hunter says it’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help when you’re struggling.
“The mental health crisis we are facing right now is the new pandemic, so we need to make sure we have the right wrap-around services to help Albertans. Building it back and getting that resiliency that we had in the past, and you know Albertans are resilient, and I know at times we can pull ourselves back up by the bootstraps, but we have the proper mental health wrap-around services it makes it so much easier for people to move faster and transition back into a better lifestyle,” he said.
Work has already started by the government to get support in place and Hunter sees more coming sooner than later.
“I was at a government announcement just east of Lethbridge and we’re building an addiction recovery and mental health facility. So, we’re going to be able to add more beds, but the other thing we are doing is, we are adding some money to be able to help with students who have had the struggle to keep up with schooling. In terms of mental health funding, we’ve added more than any other province in the country to help address this issue. I think we’re always looking for more ways we can help in that area, but I think we have started the process and it is helping,” added Hunter.
On top of that, the province announced earlier last month that they are partnering up with Counselling Alberta to help bring counselling services to all Albertans. Counselling Alberta will be providing virtual mental health counselling services immediately throughout all of Alberta and they will also be providing affordable in-person mental health sessions by working with local organizations within Alberta.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need support, call the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.