FREDERICTON (GNB) – A progress report on the Action Plan for Mental Health in New Brunswick 2011-18 is now available.

"Considerable work has been done to improve mental-health services for New Brunswickers," said Health Minister Hugh Flemming. "We have improved our approach by putting the individual at the centre of the mental-health care system."

The progress report describes measures implemented during the first two years of the action plan. Some include:

●    An investment of $480,000 to implement early psychosis intervention services provincially. Early psychosis intervention will allow for timely access for young adults when they and their families are faced with the challenges and changes that occur as a result of a serious mental illness.

●    Ongoing work for an integrated service delivery approach for children and youth. Two demonstration sites were launched in 2011, one in Charlotte County, the other on the Acadian Peninsula. As of October 2012, 850 children and youth had received more timely and comprehensive services than what was available before.

●    An investment of $400,000 to develop community-based beds for youth who have a not- criminally responsible (NCR) designation in New Brunswick, thus ensuring that treatment and placement occur within a community setting.

●    Discussions and improved program planning in regard to housing, income, employment and education for persons living with mental illness.

●    To address homelessness, the Department of Social Development has been working on the Supportive Housing Network, a co-ordinated effort to help homeless or near-homeless individuals in the Fredericton area. Variations on this project are under development in Moncton, Bathurst and Saint John.

●    The establishment of a Healing to Wellness Court on the Elsipogtog First Nation. The pilot project incorporates First Nations practices and culture and treatment options, and it deals with crime and its underlying causes.

●    Funding for the maintenance and support of new community resources centres for seniors and for the expansion of day activity services for seniors.

●    Efforts to identify opportunities to integrate community mental-health practices with best practices identified in the corrections system.

●    Collaboration with the regional health authorities to redefine and improve outcomes to services available to New Brunswickers.

●    A deputy ministerial committee representing relevant departments. It includes representatives from the departments of Education and Early Childhood Development; Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Social Development; Public Safety; Healthy and Inclusive Communities; and Justice and Attorney General.

"We have focused much of our attention during these first two years on intervention and services to our youth population," said Flemming. "While we continue to implement measures contained in the action plan, I encourage all New Brunswickers to consult this progress report and to join discussions about positive mental health."

The Department of Health has announced that it will invest $2.2 million in mental-health programming during 2013-14.