Alberta’s government announced on Wednesday, November 23 it would double its funding to 211, which helps connect Albertans with resources and services, from $7.5 million to over $15 million over the next three years.
Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Nicholas Milliken held a virtual media roundtable on Thursday, November 24 to highlight how this additional funding will help support Albertans looking to connect with local addictions and mental health services.
“Since about 2020, 211 has seen some pretty significant increases in call volume and call duration,” Minister Milliken explained.
This increase has been across the board and not solely limited to mental health and addictions support, and Minister Milliken notes the additional funding will help satisfy rising demands in a number of ways, including increased staffing levels.
The additional funding will also allow 211 to further develop existing partnerships, and help connect individuals seeking support either through local in-person or virtual support.
“It can be a life changing call for these individuals. When they make that call, they are often in a place where they’re struggling,” Minister Milliken said.
While the funding is geared towards critical support for mental health and addictions, Minister Milliken explains the funding will also help reduce barriers to access to ensure all Albertans have timely access to these services.
“We identified the need and built policies to make sure people can get to a place of wellness where they are leading good, productive lives,” Minister Milliken says.
Mental Health and Addictions was recently moved from an associate ministry to a full ministry by new Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, which has given the department more support. Minister Milliken adds this funding is part of the plans to develop a “recovery-oriented system of care,” which is something the ministry has been working towards for the past several years.