Mental health services in Swift Current will be receiving a funding boost after a provincial government commitment announced yesterday.

The announcement made at the E.I. Wood Building earmarked $4.2 million to be spent on creating eight new Community Recovery Team (CRT), one in Swift Current, that provides support to people living with mental health challenges in the city and southwest.

Swift Current MLA Everrett Hindley was on hand for the announcement and said that creating eight CRTs in the province was part of the provincial government's 10-year mental health plan.

"This is a significant announcement for Swift Current," he said. "There is always more work that needs to be done. As I talked about, mental health awareness is increasing, not just in Saskatchewan, but nationwide, as people realize. It's perhaps one of the most difficult challenges - addressing mental health - it's not as simple as a broken bone."

A strong majority of the funding will be spent on staffing as the CRT in Swift Current will consist of seven members - a team lead, three community mental health nurses, a social worker, an occupational therapist and an addictions worker.

"Each of the [CRT] has the ability to adapt and in the case of here in Swift Current and this would be the same as the other ones around the province, as their needs change, they can add and hire additional staff if that's what they require," Hindley said.

The team lead for Swift Current will be Monica Paul, who believes this initiative will increase the inclusion within the community.

"When I talk about inclusion, I mean inclusion to not only social activities, recreational activities, but also employment and vocational activities and I think the community will realize the benefits of that," she said.

One of the biggest advantages of the funding is it will allow CRT members to go into the public and help people who can't make it in.

"We will be able to provide untraditional services," Paul said. "Historically services were provided in an office setting. What the [CRT] allows us to do is actually go out to the community to go and meet up with these folks. Going out for coffee to establish relationships, to develop our goals. And have our consumers defining what their goals are and what their limitations are and us supporting."

So far 115 former psych/rehab cases have been dispersed to the Swift Current CRT staff. 

"We're looking at going to the major centres of Leader, Shaunavon, Maple Creek, and Gull Lake," she said.

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