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1112 - 7/21/2021 7:36:05 AM  

Government of Canada invests in mental health and distress centres in Guelph

Distress centres are experiencing a surge in demand with the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health

For Immediate Release - July 21, 2021

Canadians are reporting an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness

In fact, almost half  of all Canadians have reported that their mental health has worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distress centres are a vital part of our community providing mental health support  and resources to those in need. Across the country, these centres are seeing a surge in demand for  mental health services.  

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $9,275,000 in 57 distress  centres in Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all of us. Many are experiencing new or worsened  mental health challenges during these times, and we are taking action to help Canadians in crisis. If  you need help, know that you are not alone. This critical support will help distress centres offer  assistance across the country, and boost other investments to improve mental health services. Connecting Canadians to appropriate supports and resources will have substantial benefits and will  help those in crisis.” 
The Honourable Patty Hajdu-Minister of Health 

This investment will support a range of  distress centres across the country, including in rural and remote areas. It will also support centres that  provide crisis support for specific populations—including seniors, Indigenous communities, LGBTQ2  populations and racially and linguistically diverse communities. Project funding will support recruitment,  training, operating costs, and knowledge exchanges.  

This is part of a $50 million investment first announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement to support  distress centres across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second solicitation will be launched  in the months ahead to provide funding to additional centres. A portion of these funds will support the  development of resources that assist distress centres in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations  during the pandemic. 

Included in the national funding is supports for Canadian Mental Health Association- Waterloo  Wellington of $250,000 and Compass Community Services (formerly Family Counselling and Support  Services for Guelph-Wellington) in the amount of $150,000. 

“The two projects funded in Guelph will provide a range of mental health support and care for young  people and families in our community. This is especially important as we work our way out of the  pandemic and its associated pressures from isolation and uncertainty into a new normal. Having  partners like Compass Community Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association provides a  way for the community to come together to provide wrap around support and to find new ways of  improving mental wellness in Guelph.”  Lloyd Longfield- Member of Parliament for Guelph 
The CMHA Waterloo Wellington will be operationalizing this new funding to add additional staff to their  Here 24/7 Service. The Here 24/7 Service is the gateway into all funded mental health and addictions  services across Waterloo Region, Guelph and Wellington County, and is also the mobile crisis service  for this area. 

The Here 24/7 Service has historically received 4,000 calls per month, but since the  pandemic, it has been receiving 6,500 calls per month. There has also been a significant increase in  the number of calls from people who are in crisis, or who are calling about a member of their family who  is at risk. This additional funding will also add more Peer Workers within the Here 24/7 Service who  reach out to frequent callers to prevent further escalation and crisis.  

Compass Community Services will be utilizing this funding to ensure the telephone support services  provide care to their more than 2,000 callers per month by hiring additional staff, increasing coverage  for their support lines, maintaining and increasing software and system capacity, as well as supporting  a new 2SLGBTQ+ line that will be established in the coming months. 

“Compass Community Services, formerly Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph Wellington, is thankful for the funding. It will ensure complete coverage and supervision 22 hours a day,  7 days a week for Guelph and Wellington residents. The services have saved lives and are an efficient,  compassionate and cost saving service for our community. “ Joanne Young Evans-Executive Director, Compass Community Services  

All Canadians, including those who are at-risk and those living in rural and remote areas, need access  to critical health and mental health resources and services. As we work with provinces and territories on  expanding virtual services, we are making sure that Canadians can access emergency supports when  they need them.

The Government is committed to supporting Canadians and their mental health through the COVID-19  pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together  Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth)

"We are deeply grateful for this additional staffing as it will allow us to support a significantly increased  baseline of mental health and addictions needs in our community. This additional funding will add  desperately needing staffing capacity to an increased number of anxious, depressed and overwhelmed  people in our community, as well as additional staff to provide a mobile response to people who are  imminently at risk.  Helen Fishburn-Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association  

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