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Editorial: Youth support good for Alberta

The province's budget proposes increasing funding of the Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program

Preventing youth suicide while providing support to improve the mental health of young people is always in the best interest of the individuals involved, their families and the community-at-large.

Thankfully there are stakeholders in this district and provincewide who continue efforts aimed at ensuring young people get the help they need when they need it.

As part of the new provincial budget, the province is increasing funding of the Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program, bringing the investment in the initiative to more than $4 million over the next two years.

The program focuses on helping youth populations at increased risk and enhancing crucial community and suicide prevention supports, says Searle Turton, minister of Children and Family Services.

“Youth deserve to feel heard, supported, valued and loved, especially when they are suffering,” said Turton.

Dan Williams, minister of Mental Health and Additions, added, “Anyone facing mental health challenges or thinking about suicide deserves to know help is available and recovery is possible. The continuation of this funding will ensure access to these prevention services across the province.”

Funding under the grant program is distributed to selected community organizations that work to expand the capacity of existing suicide-prevention initiatives, or pilot new, innovative initiatives that address identified suicide-prevention gaps and unique community needs.

Launched in 2022, the program has already directly helped nearly 1,000 Alberta youth, with more than 1,000 others provided with information and connection to mental health resources.

Many school divisions and grassroots organizations across this region continue efforts aimed at helping young people with any and all support they need when it comes to suicide prevention and mental health support. 

While not all initiatives announced in Budget 2024 are being universally applauded, this new grant funding in support of youth suicide prevention is certainly welcome and worthwhile.


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