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A new mental health initiative in Moose Jaw will have three positions with the community recovery team in place to help those struggling with persistent mental health issues get back on their feet again.

The province announced $4.2 million in funding for the Community Recovery Teams in eight centres in Saskatchewan. Some of the money is coming down to the Moose Jaw Connects Centre on Manitoba Street East.

“We were able to gain two full-time positions as well as a community support worker,” said Natasha Gilbert, assessor-co-ordinator senior and team lead of the recovery program in Moose Jaw. “This funding is meant to help those people that are at the highest level of care.”

“Primarily we work with people that have a primary presenting issue of a severe or persistent mental illness,” Gilbert said. “They might also have a co-occuring substance use disorder on top of that.”

The community recovery team aims to help keep people out of the acute care system, like emergency rooms and the mental health intake unit.

Eleven members on the case management team work with people of various levels of care, providing everything from nursing to occupational therapy and addictions services in the community.

“Our team is made up of various different professions,” said Gilbert. “We have social workers, we have psychiatric nurses, we have occupational therapists, we have mental health therapists.

They work with 200 people with varying levels of care.

Funding announced today in Moose Jaw to grow the team, while other centres are just getting theirs going.

“We know that there’s not just one right provider who solves and helps people manage all of their needs,” said Karen Earnshaw vice president of integrated rural health services with Saskatchewan Health Authority. “The idea that you have a team that’s representative of different professions really benefits the clients.”

Earnshaw said they are fortunate in Moose Jaw because the seeds for the team were already planted.

“It helps our clients to actually manage their health in a better way,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your chronic health need is, we know that we do better when we’re managed close to home (and) that our conditions aren’t left to escalate until we need that acute care admission.”

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