The Mental Health Services Amendment Act was Introduced in the Saskatchewan Legislature on December 3rd.
The current Mental Health Services Act is 27 years old and amendments are required to allow for more effective delivery of mental health services in the province.
The intent of the amendments are to improve timely access to mental health services for vulnerable people, support integration of mental health and addiction services and information sharing, and resolve governance and administration issues affecting the ministry and health regions.
•Repealing those sections of the Act dealing with confidentiality and release of information and substituting the Health Information Protection Act, allowing for better collaboration among areas of health services and other ministries, while still protecting personal health information.
•Reducing the criteria for Community Treatment Orders (CTOs), which allow for involuntary treatment in the community, and increasing the time period of CTOs to reduce barriers to treatment for very vulnerable clients.
•Transferring the responsibility for licensing Mental Health Approved Homes from the ministry to Regional Health Authorities, to align closer to day-to-day practice.
•Using the Facility Designation Regulations under the Regional Health Services Act, instead of the Mental Health Services Act, to designate facilities.
•Transferring the power to appoint Regional Directors of Mental Health and Chief Psychiatrists from the ministry to Regional Health Authorities, to align with day-to-day practice.
“One in five people experiences a mental health or addictions issue, so now is the time to strengthen the foundation for building upon these critical services,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “These amendments will enable our health regions to improve timely access to mental health services when vulnerable citizens need them the most. Health regions will also be empowered to expedite services more effectively.”