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Mental Health for Children and Youth

Introduction

Improving the mental health and well-being of Alberta’s children and youth is an important focus for Alberta Health Services. Early support and intervention are vital, as research shows that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. 

In September 2006 Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) launched Positive Futures – Optimizing Mental Health for Alberta’s Children and Youth. This framework outlined strategic directions and activities to achieve optimal mental health for children and youth, zero to 24 years of age.

To advance this framework, AHW announced $38.9 million over three years to improve mental health for Alberta’s children and youth and to support the mental well-being of their families and communities. The funds went towards five projects, three of which build upon A CALL TO ACTION: The Alberta Suicide Prevention Strategy. The remaining two projects relate to building capacity at the local level to address the mental and physical needs of children, youth and their families, as well as Mental Health First Aid Canada training in schools.

In August, 2008 Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) announced $50.5 million over three years for the Children’s Mental Health Plan for Alberta:  Three Year Action Plan (2008-2011).  This plan supports a coordinated and collaborative approach to optimizing the mental health and well-being of infants, children and youth up to 24 years of age, and their families.  It builds on successful strategies and promotes new initiatives that enhance collaborative approaches between health services, schools and communities all across the province.

Alberta Health Services – Addiction and Mental Health is pleased to be assigned the implementation of the Children's Mental Health Plan for Alberta Action Plan and the 23 actions identified in the plan are being implemented provincially and across all 5 zones in Alberta. 

Alberta Health Services has also developed a number of publications and resources designed to support children and youth's mental health initiatives. These can be accessed at Addiction & Mental Health publications and resources.