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Lethbridge mental health unit receives record-breaking boost from community donations

Lethbridge mental health unit receives record-breaking boost from community donations
Lethbridge’s Chinook Regional Hospital is undergoing some major renovations in its mental health department with help from community donations. Demi Knight reports.

Renovations to Chinook Regional Hospital’s (CRH) mental health unit just received a $352,000 boost thanks to support from the community.

A record-breaking number of donations were received on Thursday during the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation’s annual Care from the Heart Day Radio-a-thon.

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READ MORE: First renovation to the Chinook Regional Hospital since 1988 is complete

Colin Zeiber, a senior operating officer with Alberta Health Services South Zone, said the community’s contribution during the event will go a long way and recognizes the importance of these mental health services in Lethbridge.

“It shows that southern Albertans are really committed to providing good addictions and mental health treatment,” Zeiber said.

“It shows that society in general is starting to accept that mental health impacts many of us, if not all of us in some form.”

New Lethbridge detox beds not serving opioid users
New Lethbridge detox beds not serving opioid users

For the past two years, the CRH Foundation has focused all fundraising efforts on remodelling the mental health facility.

Renovations on a new nursing station in the unit just wrapped up this fall, which created an enclosed area that provides added privacy and equipment for staff.

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Zeiber said with this new funding the next project will be improvements to inpatient housing in the unit.

“The funds are being used to re-develop each room for patient safety, for patient comfort and also for staff safety,” he said.

“This part of the building has not been redeveloped really since the late 80s when the building was originally built.”

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Jason VandenHoek, the foundation’s executive director, said the money raised at the Radio-a-thon will be combined with funds already promised to the unit from the foundation to total more than $1 million.

VanHoek said the renovations of the unit have been long in the making.

“We think the timing of it is perfect,” he said.

“We’re talking about mental health issues more than ever before and we wanted to make sure we were adding a positive voice to that discussion.”