New Brunswick to provide funding to 6 youth mental health centres
New Brunswick's provincial government will be providing funding to six youth mental health locations across the province to continue their services.
The province says the access open minds centres will offer quick access to mental health services without a referral.
"I'm excited because I think that the access open mind centres have proven that they're very effective in the delivery of care and service," said New Brunswick's minister of health, Dorothy Shephard.
Minister Shephard said this began 5 years ago as a research project.
"We need to start integrating not only our RHA's but our community services so that they're almost seamless," said Shephard.
"We need to know that our resources are being used not only in a frugal way but in a way that delivers the best service that we can deliver."
Expanding access to services was one of the ten recommendations made in a recent report by New Brunswick's child and youth advocate's office, which was prompted by the death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken.
Daken died by suicide a week after she waited 8 hours to see a psychiatrist in the emergency room at the Dr. Everett Chalmers' Regional Hospital in Fredericton N.B. earlier this year.
"The child and youth advocate office is encouraged by government's early endorsement of this important interim recommendation to improve rapid and youth-friendly connections to mental health care at the community level," said New Brunswick's child, youth, and seniors' advocate Norm Bossé.
"Our office is following up with departmental officials to get a formal response to this and other early recommendations."
Many believe expanding access to the centres is an important step in giving youth access to proper mental health care.
"When the tragedy with Lexi took place there was a lot of obvious hurt and pain which I know still goes on today but I think there was a lot of anger and frustration with the mental health system in New Brunswick especially as it relates to youth," said Kris Austin, the MLA for Fredericton-Grand Lake.
Andrew LeBlanc who works as the executive director of the Atlantic Wellness Community Centre in Moncton says that the province is seeing a need for more mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it's one of those situations where the more we continue to break down stigma, the more education in the communities, we'll also see the need for support services increase as well," LeBlanc said.