Ontario funds new mental health and addictions pilot project in Peterborough: MPP

Click to play video: 'Peterborough-Kawartha MPP announces more funding for mental health and addiction services programs'
Peterborough-Kawartha MPP announces more funding for mental health and addiction services programs
The Ontario government unveiled additional funding for mental health and addictions supports in Peterborough. The hope is to get as many options as possible available to residents who need the help. Tricia Mason has the latest – Mar 4, 2022

The Ontario government is launching a new pilot project in Peterborough that will focus on mental health and addictions.

On Friday, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith announced $367,480 in funding for “Moving Beyond Addiction,” which is described as an innovative and unique pilot project.

The funding will go to Right to Heal, a non-profit organization, to expand its services over a 16-month period. Right to Heal will employ the use of the Redpath program (administered by Whitepath Consulting), which treats addictions by using psychology-based methods to identify the reasons behind substance abuse. The program also develops social, emotional and practical skills for individuals to move beyond their addictions and reintegrate back into society.

“Individuals with addictions more often than not develop addictions by using substances to either feel something or numb something,” Smith stated.

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“The root cause is almost always trauma, whether it’s from abuse, mental health challenges or pain.”

The announcement follows last week’s commitment from the province to provide $1.3 million annually for a safe consumption and treatment site at the opioid response hub on Simcoe Street in the city’s downtown.

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“If we are truly going to address the mental health and addictions crisis, a wide variety of treatment options need to exist locally,” Smith said. “The Right to Health pilot program will turn many lives around, reducing homelessness, addiction, crime and overdose deaths in our community.”

Peggy Shaughnessy, found and president of Whitepath Consulting, said the announcement comes almost to the day of the organization’s 20th anniversary. She says the funding will expand addiction treatment services in the region.

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“I want to thank David Smith for his continuous support and work bringing fudning to our area to provide further services to help those in need,” she said.

Right to Heal said it will have the capacity to address the needs of 320 individuals after they receive referral. The Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough will administer the referral process, enabling the funding for the pilot to flow fully to program services, the province said.

The society provides resource support and training to criminalized women to prevent unnecessary incarceration.

“We have had the opportunity to connect clients to programs and are witnesses firsthand the impact Redpath has,” said Elizabeth Fry Peterborough executive director Debbie Carrier.

“We at Elizabeth Fry can see this program coming alive through our referrals from various connections within healthcare and criminal justice sections. As someone who has completed this program myself, I can truly speak to the excellent opportunity this is bringing to our community for healing.”

Once the extensive assessment is complete, individuals will entred into one-on-one counselling and/or the Redpath Intervention Program which consists of 21 counselling and training sessions (three hours in length) in both community and institutional settings. Sessions focus or identify trauma, its cause, why substance abuse is occurring and develops coping mechanisms along with practical, emotional and social skills.”

— more to come

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