Released on March 23, 2022
The Government of Saskatchewan will deliver its largest investment ever to support people with mental health and addictions challenges across the province this year.
This priority area of focus will receive a significant increase of $9.5 million, including $8 million to fund targeted initiatives that provide counselling and treatments for Saskatchewan people, reduce harms associated with substance use and advance proactive prevention measures, particularly for youth. A total of $470 million will be invested in this area, or 7.3 per cent of the total Ministry of Health budget, with $403 million directed to mental health and $67 million to addictions.
"We all know someone who has experienced mental illness or addiction," Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. "Continuously improving the services and supports we provide remains a top priority. This budget will further enhance the availability of treatment, access to harm reduction services and supplies, and prevention initiatives with a special focus on children and youth."
New funding this year will support targeted investments, including:
- The addition of new addictions treatment spaces with $2.1 million to support the first year of a three-year commitment to add 150 spaces across Saskatchewan;
- Province-wide implementation of the mental health and addictions information system supported by a $1.0 million investment;
- Expansion of the Mental Health Capacity-Building in Schools Program to additional schools throughout the province with $800,000 in new funding;
- Annualizing $500,000 in funding to support the virtual rural Police and Crisis Team (PACT) partnership with the RCMP which began as a pilot in 2020-21;
- Improving access to detox services with $475,000 to support the operation of additional spaces across the province;
- Expanding Family Services Saskatchewan's Rapid Access Counselling Program to eight additional communities with $255,000 in new funding;
- Further increasing the availability of naloxone with a $200,000 investment to support adding more community pharmacies to the Take Home Naloxone Program; and
- Building capacity and developing resources to improve treatment services for people who use crystal meth with $175,000 to annualize Emergency Treatment Fund dollars.
The additional investment in 2022-23 also includes $1.5 million to support the continued implementation of initiatives first committed to in 2021-22. This funding will help to ensure work to launch new harm reduction initiatives, which was delayed by COVID-related supply chain challenges and public health staff redeployments, gets back on track. It will also support the ongoing work to establish an integrated services model to better coordinate services for children and youth.
"While significant progress has been made with the support of record investments in recent years, we recognize that there is more work to do," Hindley said. "This budget responds to concerns we've heard about the barriers created by wait times for detox and treatment while also ensuring harm reduction services and supplies are efficiently and effectively offered to Saskatchewan people regardless of where they live in the province."
The 2022-23 Budget will also fund recent recommendations and priorities released by the Saskatchewan Drug Task Force, after extensive consultations with a wide range of partners, including people with lived experience.
Investments in response to the recent Drug Task Force consultations, totalling $1 million, include:
- $650,000 for development of local integrated overdose response projects;
- $150,000 for targeted stigma reduction efforts;
- $150,000 for trauma-informed practice training for front line staff to assist in identifying and appropriately responding to individuals who use substances due to past trauma; and
- $50,000 for coordinated research in areas of interest for the Drug Task Force.
With this new funding in 2022-23, the government has invested over $92 million in targeted initiatives in mental health and addictions since 2018.
For more information, contact:Health