Saskatoon children and youth will have better access to mental health supports thanks to a partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Health Authority, EGADZ and Medavie Health Services.
EGADZ will convert one of their My Homes group homes to offer outreach services and provide a safe place for Saskatoon and area youth in care to remain in their community while receiving the help they need. The program objective is to reduce self-harming behaviours, suicide attempts and hospital visits and admissions.
The Government of Saskatchewan has committed $116,000 in funding to support this new EGADZ endeavour. The Saskatchewan Health Authority has also enhanced their EGADZ annual funding by $100,000 to support the hiring of new mental health staff who will work with children and youth.
“As with many programs delivered by EGADZ, I am confident this will become an important initiative that helps strengthen families and communities,” Social Services Minister Paul Merriman said. “The supports and housing for youth receiving mental health services that will be made available through EGADZ with this funding will go a long way in helping to address these rising issues.”
“Our government remains committed to supporting people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, as we’ve demonstrated in this year’s budget investments,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “We are pleased to partner with EGADZ and contribute funding to this important initiative for young people. Such partnerships are key to reaching out to vulnerable youth and providing them the services they need in a safe, caring environment.”
“These funding partnerships create better outcomes for our youth in times of severe crisis by allowing us to meet their needs where they are,” EGADZ Executive Director Don Meikle said. “In addition to providing those in greatest need with outreach services, the availability of one of our homes – called a retreat to help remove the stigma around mental health – helps prevent the additional trauma of leaving their current placement or community. We will also have a van that will allow us to be mobile with a therapy dog to comfort youth in times of crisis.”
Medavie Health Services also presented EGADZ with a cheque for $25,000 that will be used toward mental health programming to support youth.
“Through our Medavie Health Foundation we support innovative and evidence-based solutions to address some of Canada’s most pressing physical and mental health care challenges, with a focus on adolescent mental health,” Medavie Health Services Chief Gerry Schriemer said. “We are very excited to announce a cheque from our foundation for $25,000 to help support this program, especially in the City of Saskatoon who we have served for more than 40 years.”
EGADZ is a nationally and internationally recognized social innovator, and recently won Saskatchewan’s first Governor General’s Award for Innovation. They offer several programs and services to Saskatoon’s children, youth and their families to improve their quality of life, including street outreach, housing, education and employment support and parenting programming.