Alliance Health welcomed dignitaries, members of the media, and more to unveil their new In-Patient, Residential Mental Health and Addictions Centre in Moose Jaw on Thursday.  

The unique aspect of their centre is its location. Located at 401 Trinity Lane and within the Wakamow Valley, patients will have the privacy they need, along with access to the Moose Jaw River, and many walking trails around the centre to assist them in their treatment.  

As mental health and addiction rates keep rising, this new facility’s goal is to take a different approach to try and change the outcome.  

“The centre’s intending to do about 30 things differently,” says Alliance Health CEO, Dr. Mark Lemstra. “One is just the pure philosophy of the program. The second big change is all of our care is individual-based, individual discussion, individual care, and individual treatment.”   

The centre will be following Alfred Adler’s theory of individual psychology, which studied the individual man’s striving for superiority and power, partly in compensation for his feeling of inferiority.  

Lemstra adds the 34-bed centre will allow patients to have access to a variety of specialists to assist them through their treatment.  

“You’ll be able to see a general practitioner, if you need a special type of doctor, that will be available as well. We’ll have onsite clinical social workers, an onsite psychologist, access to a psychiatrist, there will be a dietician, a kinesiologist, and a pharmacist. It will be a well-rounded team.” 

The centre will officially open its doors to 17 patients on August 2, with plans to renovate the other half of its space to have 17 more beds by this time next year.  

Along with the variety of accessible specialists, patients will have the opportunity to participate in an array of physical, and artistic activities, along with a variety of therapies.  

“We’ll have dog equine therapy, horse equine therapy, kayaking, canoeing, hockey, skating, snow-shoeing, and skating. All of those physical activities, as well as artistic activities like drawing, painting, and making baskets.” 

Lemstra notes that the reasoning for so many activities is for a number of reasons. 

“Number one is whether they’re taking advantage of the beautiful Wakamow Valley. A second reason for it is we need to replace addiction time with activity time. Something has to fill that vacuum. The third reason is to help people build confidence.” 

In June of 2022, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that during the first year of the pandemic, there was a 96% increase in opioid deaths in Canada (April 2020 – March 2021, 7,362 deaths), compared to the year before (April 2019 – March 2020, 3,747 deaths).  

On January 11, 2022, Saskatchewan’s Chief Coroner, Clive Weighill, informed the media that there were 464 drug overdose deaths in 2021 in Saskatchewan; up from 327 in 2021, 179 in 2019, 139 in 2018, and 95 in 2017.