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Calgary pledges millions for mental health and addiction

Last Updated Jan 30, 2019 at 6:20 pm MDT

(Tom Ross - 660NEWS)

3-million-dollars to be split up among 19 non-profit organizations around Calgary.

Mental health and addiction supports to be boosted through the program, which is part of a five-year strategy.

Mayor Nenshi believes it can become a world-renowned initiative.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — As part of a five-year plan, the City of Calgary is pledging money for 19 non-profit organizations to boost mental health and addiction supports.

The organizations will each take a piece of 3 million dollars in this first round of funding.

There are three specific areas being targeted through this funding: enhancing social well-being, limiting harm to Calgarians, and reducing violence.

The groups cover all walks of life, such as immigration support societies, LGBTQ organizations, and those focused on helping people experiencing substance abuse.

It comes at an important, but unfortunate, time for our society.

“We live in a city today, we live in a province today, where you are far more likely of an opioid overdose than you are of a car crash — that’s one end of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum, we have parents looking at their kids, not knowing what to do. We have people living what we can describe as lives of quiet desperation, alone,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Nenshi is hopeful that along with improving the amount and quality of programming in Calgary, the plan will help reduce stigmas around mental health and addiction.

“So it’s really important that we are working every single day on short-term issues around mental health, but that we are also working together to create the most comprehensive and the most innovative long-term community strategy on mental health and addiction that any community has ever seen.”

Some of the organizations receiving a share of the $3 million include the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, Calgary Sexual Health Centre Society, Distress Centre Calgary, Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Canadian Mental Health Association, Calgary Alpha House Society, and Calgary Drug Treatment Court Society.

The mayor plans on making this initiative — which totals $25 million — the cornerstone of his tenure in office.

“My dream is that people across the world will turn to the Calgary model when they’re looking at community interventions. I think this is a very big deal. It means that we learn as we go along, it means that when we look at things like the announcement yesterday around the safe consumption site at the Sheldon Chumir that we improve, we fix, we move forward.”

READ MORE: Nenshi: ‘The answer is not close down the facility’ as CPS reports rise in crime around Sheldon Chumir