Friday, July 12, 2024

Grey County Task Force to Address Mental Health and Addictions Crisis

Grey County Council has formed a Mental Health and Addictions Task Force to examine the challenges residents face gaining access to treatment for mental health and substance misuse. The task force, comprised of seven councillors and five representatives from local mental health and addictions services, will work together to determine opportunities for enhanced community supports. Council approved a terms of reference for the task force at the February 10 committee of the whole meeting. 

Four objectives are outlined for the committee.

  1. Focus on community members living with mental health and addictions challenges, particularly youth and those with housing insecurities. 
  2. Bring together government and non-government health and community partners to improve equity of service and meet the needs of the vulnerable.
  3. Determine appropriate government advocacy for increased access to services and reduction of barriers.
  4. Make recommendations for local action-focused programs that provide wrap around care leading to improved health outcomes.

Grey County does not have a direct role in the provision of mental health or substance use treatment; however, the Grey County Council recognizes there is an ongoing crisis in our community and intervention is necessary.

We’ve been dealing with a crisis on two fronts for the past two years. Not only are we facing an ongoing pandemic, but we’re also dealing with record high numbers of opioid overdoses and disturbing statistics around addiction and mental health in our communities,” explains Grey County Warden Selwyn ‘Buck’ Hicks. “I commend County Council for making this issue a priority for the year. Now it’s time to get to work and figure out how we can respond to the crisis and reinforce our partners on the frontlines and support those in need of care.”

Community partners will bring important voices to the committee. As the people delivering services, they will provide important insight into the scope of the crisis and gaps in services and funding. The committee will include representation from Keystone Child, Family and Youth Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Grey Bruce Health Services, the Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy peer advisory network, and the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit.

The task force will also engage with various other community partners and members of the public throughout the duration of the task force which is scheduled to meet monthly from February to June of this year. 

The mental health and addiction crisis in our community is urgent and it’s important for our task force to move quickly if we want to start making a difference and improving lives,” said Warden Hicks. “It’s clear the system in place doesn’t have the necessary resources to meet the demand in our community. We need action and we need it now.”

Task force meetings will be streamed live on the Grey County website at Meetings will be added to the Council calendar on the website in the coming days. Agenda packages and minutes will also be available on the site as they are prepared.


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