Lloydminster Region Health Foundation CEO Malcolm Radke. File Photo
The 2017 Community Social Needs Assessment has officially been released, with mental health and addiction topping the list of social issues.
The Lloydminster Family and Community Support Services partnered with the Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation (LRHF), and the assessment was launched in the fall of 2017, with the Lloyd Needs… campaign.
“We had a feeling there was a need for more focus around mental health in our community, that’s been the pulse of our donor base and the pulse of our community,” said Malcolm Radke, CEO, LRHF.
Radke noted in the broad spectrum, they knew mental health and addictions with the city and surrounding area were issues that will need to be tackled.
“That certainly came up with the results of the survey, so now that we have those numbers in front of us we can start to say ‘what are the next steps?’ in terms of the immediate things we can do and three months, 12 months, three years, five years, that sort of thing,” he explained.
The survey indicated that 32.29 per cent of the respondents were personally impacted by a mental health issue, while 46.46 per cent of the respondents had family and/or friends impacted by a mental health issue.
“I don’t know if I was surprised,” Radke said about those numbers. “But, certainly the numbers are shocking when they are in front of you, and its local numbers … when you look at local numbers like that it’s right in front of you. This is Lloydminster, these are your neighbours, your co-workers, your peers. People are struggling with this.”
The survey noted the age group with the highest percentage of respondents who were personally impacted by mental health issues was 17 to 24 years old at 29.14 per cent, and the second-most affected age group was 24 to 34 tears old at 17.38 per cent.
Going into the survey, Radke said the consultants knew Lloydminster was a transient community.
“Oil and Ag town, any time you get into that setting there is going to be different social issues. Lloydminster is a younger city, very transient, a lot of blue collar money here so there is going to be specific social needs around that, and I don’t think any of the results were entirely surprising that way,” he said.
The report specifies that the top factors contributing to mental health and addiction in Lloydminster were finances, isolation, and feeling disconnect from the community.
“The finance stuff is probably not too surprising, the local economy has been hurting for a while now, and that’s starting to be reflected in the mental health of the citizens in the community … socially speaking there is some stuff we need to deal with on the ground as a community, and stuff we can’t look away from,” said Radke.
There were 16 recommendations and actions in the report, which included an increasing awareness to decrease the stigma with mental health and addictions, increase communication and collaboration between existing services.
Now that all the information has been presented, Mayor Gerald Aalbers said they need to find a way to tackle some of the recommendations.
“We will be turning it to administration and will be reporting back to city council once they start to dissect what’s there. They have seen it now, they will start to work away at programs, identify those needs, and work with partners in the community, and it will come back to council for funding approval,” he said.
The results and the full report can be found at www.lloydminster.ca/lloydneeds.