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Program that helps Calgarians with mental health, addictions issues gets more staff, expands hours

Alberta Health Services says a program that helps Calgarians with mental health and addiction issues or those who are in psychosocial crisis is getting more staff and expanded hours.

The Police and Crisis Team (PACT) is a partnership between AHS and the Calgary Police Service that offers mental health assessments and support.

The main goals of the program are to divert individuals who are in crisis with mental illness and addiction issues from the justice system and hospital emergency rooms, assess and stabilize individuals in crisis within the community and connect individuals with resources and support.

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AHS announced on Thursday the program’s day shift has doubled its capacity, hiring six additional AHS clinicians and six more officers to respond to incoming calls.

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In addition, the program will now operate 22 hours a day (6 a.m. to 4 a.m.), up from 18 hours.

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A news release says the expansion to the PACT program was made possible by funding from the new Community Safety Investment Framework, a collaborative effort between CPS, the City of Calgary and community partners.

“It aims to support Calgarians in crisis due to mental health concerns, addiction or other similar challenges,” the news release said. “Funding for the PACT expansion is being allocated from the CPS’ $8-million commitment to address this work.”

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AHS said it has contributed about $625,000 to support the initiative.

Over 5,100 people have been assisted by PACT since the program launched in 2009.

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