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Given pushing for more talks surrounding mental health, addictions services

Mayor Bill Given says he is happy to see the work of those in the mental health and addiction field get recognized for their tireless efforts to make a difference in Grande Prairie.

Given, who met with Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addiction Jason Luan, says the associate minister kept repeating his praise for what he is calling the “entrepreneurial spirit” seen throughout the community. Including those in the health care sector.

“An attitude of addressing our problems together. Community organizations coming together to address problems,” Given said.

Mayor Given says, however, the need for more in-depth discussions is always welcome and needed, and he has started the ball rolling on that front.

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“I think that there was room for conversation about all the different parts of our response, not just emergency response. The minister seemed open to having that kind of conversation.”

The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital was also a hot topic on the day. Given believes the need to finish that project is of the utmost importance, especially when discussing the long term future of any health care programs.

He added that it was important to stress that the hospital isn’t just for the city proper, but the Peace Region in its entirety.

“The services that Grande Prairie has, if you’re from Calgary or Edmonton might seem that they’re oversized for a community of our size. But, when you start to realize what a large area we serve, it starts to make obvious sense as to why we have them,” he said.

“That was a message we hoped he would take back about the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, and the future development of mental health beds at the hospital also has to be a priority,” he added.

Luan was joined by Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard as the pair also took the opportunity to visit the Alberta Health Services Northern Addiction Centre during his day trip to the city.

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