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Provincial grant provides boost to area mental health services

MPP Steve Clark announced recently that Lanark Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health will receive $320,000 is new funding. JOURNAL PHOTO/BURCHELL

BROCKVILLE - A mental health agency which services Prescott and surrounding areas was the recipient of $320,000 in funding recently. The announcement was made at Lanark Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health's office at 25 Front Avenue in Brockville.

LLGAMH provides services to residents of all the local communities in South Grenville, as well as Brockville. MPP Steve Clark was on hand at the agency for the announcement of the money which will be used to enhance existing services and local substance use programs.

"Advocating for mental health and addictions investments in our communities has been a priority for me since the first day I was elected," Clark told a small crowd of agency workers and general public. He was joined by LLGAMH's new Chief Executive Officer Patricia Kyle; Roger Haley who was recently named Chair of the providers' Board of Directors; and Vice-chair David Price.

"The first step in determining how to allocate this funding is to reach out to our service partners and residents," said Kyle. "Our intention is to build on our existing programs - clients reach out for a range of issues."

The funding will also be used for new, local, community-based initiatives supporting individuals who use substances. The current opioid crisis has elevated the need for additional day and evening substance-use programming. Kyle said the centre saw four deaths of clients from fentanyl overdose in 2019 compared to 12 so far in 2020.

Kyle went on to explain that the agency now offers virtual and phone-in appointments with counsellors and staff. That is in addition to last year's introduction of Rapid Access Services - a program which eliminates the wait time which used to be a barrier to accessing services. Prior to the new rapid referral system, it took several weeks, sometimes months, to be set up with a psychologist or therapist. Now, once the client reaches out, most have an intake interview done within 24 to 48 hours.

"This funding will certainly go a long way in helping us fight these hidden illnesses of addictions and mental health," said Chairman Haley.

Funding for this local program is being provided through the provincial government's additional $176 million investment to help expand critical mental health and addictions supports during COVID-19. The funding is also part of the province's investment total of $3.8 billion over 10 years and is part of the Ontario plan A Roadmap to Wellness.

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