• InnerVoice


Updated: Oct 5, 2019

Mental health issues are the tip of the iceberg in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. Residents who deal with substance abuse, alcoholism and other addictions are more at risk of developing crippling issues such as depression and anxiety. The irony is that even though mental health issues and addiction are co-occurring conditions, each has its own unique symptoms that can compromise anyone’s ability to live a fully functional life.

For Edmonton’s needy, the situation gets more complicated. Already beset with financial constraints, large family units, lack of employment opportunities and education, it is little wonder why many fall prey to these issues. To make the situation worse, mental health concerns and addictions also work off each other. When the former goes untreated, individuals who suffer from substance abuse get worse and vice versa.

This is a sad reality, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel for sufferers in Edmonton, Alberta and it lies in inclusive wellness and rehab programs.

Addiction Recovery and Community Health Clinic (ARCH)

With support from the Royal Alexander Hospital Foundation, an Inner City Health and Wellness Program was launched. It treats some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable individuals. Each receives bespoke and empathetic recovery services that are tailored to their mental health issues and the triggers that resulted in their addictions.

As per the name, ARCH is an all encompassing treatment program that allows sufferers to realize their true potential. As the clinical arm of the Inner City Health and Wellness Program, it nurtures and heals suffering residents for substance abuse and other addictions that are preventing them from living a complete and fulfilling life.

Supervised Injection Services

While some substance abusers can be brought back from the brink with preventive programs, inspiring every single one to complete a treatment can be a challenge. Rather than leaving them to their own devices which increases the potential for self harm, or overdosing, they are given full access to supervised consumption services.

Also known as safe injection sites, these facilitate substance abusers who inject, smoke or snort.

The aim of these services is to:

- Reverse overdoses and thus saving lives.

- Reduce chances of disease and infections by providing sterile needles and equipment.

- Provide direct access to health services that can treat chronic conditions, provide support for mental health and drug dependency among others.

- Ensure the community remains safe by reducing the number of discarded needles.

Besides the aforementioned services, Alberta also has a dedicated 24/7 addiction helpline for residents who feel isolated due to substance abuse and the resulting mental health issues they suffer from. The toll free service is completely confidential which provides support and referral to services that can treat residents to overcome dependence on drugs, alcohol, gambling and other addictions.

Addiction and substance abuse take countless lives, especially if they are coupled with depression, anxiety, anger issues and other mental health problems. Many spend nights in jail due to infractions they have no control over only to return to a community that rejects and ostracizes them. It is our job and duty to come together as a community and support those who suffer in silence with full access to recovery and treatment programs that empathize rather than criticize their situation.