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New centre to offer new mental health services for youth

Updated: May 25, 2018

Alberta Health Services announces purpose-built community-based facility to improve access for families

The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation is partnering with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to build a Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health to help ensure mentally healthy futures for young people in our community.

The new facility will be home to a mental health walk-in service, intensive outpatient therapy and a day hospital program where families can receive specialized triage and the opportunity for immediate referrals to programs at the site.

“AHS is grateful for the partnership we have with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation to build the first stand-alone centre for child and adolescent mental health in Calgary,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President & CEO, Alberta Health Services. “The Foundation’s commitment will help us provide the best care possible to children and youth in our community who experience mental health issues.”

“Mental health is such a significant issue for young people that we all need to play our part and work together to reduce suffering for kids and families,” said Saifa Koonar, President & CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The community helped build the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the best facility possible for children with physical health issues. And now, together, we’re going to do the same thing for young people struggling with mental health issues.”

By offering new expanded services in the community, families will benefit from a broad spectrum of programming that will help stabilize and manage escalating illness with the goal of preventing hospitalization.

“This unique partnership between the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and AHS speaks to the importance of helping connect more children and teens to the mental health supports they need to live fulfilling, healthy lives,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “I thank the Foundation and its donors for their commitment and generosity in supporting expanded health care delivery for Calgary families.”

This less-institutional delivery approach offers more readily available mental health services in the community, making it more convenient for patients and families to access treatment. The new Centre will provide a comprehensive continuum of coordinated, integrated, and seamless intervention services for youth suffering from mental health disorders, and their families.

“I can only imagine what a difference something like this Centre could have made for me five years ago,” said Julia Caddy, a patient ambassador who shared her personal story to raise awareness for the Centre. “I am beyond joyful to know that youth will have more opportunities to get the help they need as soon as they need it.”

Planning is underway to develop vacant AHS land in northwest Calgary, in the community of Hounsfield Heights - Briar Hill. AHS will work with its partners, patients and families, and the community throughout the planning, development and implementation of the project. Construction will begin in Fall 2019 and is expected to take about two years.

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