Survey shows public wants better access to mental health, addiction services

HUMBOLDT — A survey conducted by Partners Family Services shows the public would like to see improved access to mental health resources and addiction services.

The survey was held online between Jan. 29 and Feb. 28.

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Hayley Kennedy, Partners’ executive director, said the results show the organization is meeting its mandate, with 92 per cent of survey respondents saying that Partners is an essential organization for Humboldt and area.

Other results show there’s more work to be done.

“We’re glad that the community is still satisfied with our organization and the work that we're doing,” said Kennedy

Of the survey respondents, 58 per cent felt Humboldt residents didn’t have access to sufficient mental health supports.

“That's one big piece and part of that we’ll be able to address with the new walk-in counselling model, which is awesome.” Kennedy said.

The walk-in counselling service is expected to start in mid-April.

There was much interest in improved access to marital counselling, long-term therapeutic counselling and improved access to intergenerational support programs.

“I think that's probably reflective of more families who have adult children living there or adult children who may be caring for their parents wanting to make sure that they have sufficient support so they can navigate those new family units,” Kennedy said.

Respondents were also interested in improved access to addiction services. Kennedy said that would be something that Partners would work on with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The survey said that Partners needed to continue to focus on parenting supports, domestic violence support and counselling.

“One of the things that we did identify it was that our staffing could do a little bit more in terms of our relationship with our clients, the community and other stakeholders,” Kennedy  said. “We need to invest more time in looking at our partnerships.”

The executive director said her organization would be spending more time educating the public on what they do and where their expertise lies.

There will also be efforts made to ensure Partners’ staff have training to better engage new Canadians and individuals with different abilities.

Kennedy said the data collected by the survey is important.

“We really heavily rely on this information as we plan for the next couple of years in terms of what is it that the community is identifying as their need and how can we go about starting to meet those needs.”

With the information, Partners can prove to grant funders that the funds they are applying for will meet a need for the community that they would like to see.

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