Walk-in clinics, youth centre: New Brunswick shares addictions and mental health plan

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New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard promised accountability when revealing what the government calls its five-year addictions and mental health “action plan.”

The province says less than 50 per cent of “high priority cases” are receiving treatment within “national benchmarks,” and that there has been a 16-per cent increase in demand for mental health and addictions services over the last five years.

That’s been amplified as a result of COVID-19.

“The real crux of the services that are needed, that I’ve seen since having the stakeholder engagement and coming to this file, is the response time,” Shephard said. “That’s why these walk-in clinics are so important… that’s why the mobile mental health crisis units are so important.”

Read more: ‘Stay in touch,’ exercise, breathe: Combating mental health challenges during COVID-19

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The province is promising to create 13 walk-in mental health and addictions clinics across the province by October, similar to one that recently opened in Campbellton.

Shephard said that’s proved successful in getting people seen faster.

Within the first six weeks of opening, there were 97 walk-in appointments, she said…

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