Wood’s Homes breaks ground on new youth mental health facility in northwest Calgary – Calgary

It’s a 24-7 home for those navigating the darkest moments of their young lives, in privacy, with a team of support.

Between the existing Parkdale and Bowness campuses in northwest Calgary, Wood’s Homes currently offers 32 mental health beds for young people.

Some stay weeks. Most stay months.

A referral here is a transition out of the hospital system, onto what’s hoped to be a path of recovery.

But the facilities, which date back to 1926, are starting to show their age.

The groundbreaking of a new state-of-the-art facility offering 10 new beds is a welcome addition during what some Alberta doctors have called a ‘mental health crisis’ in Alberta.

“We see a lot of need,” said Bjorn Johansson, CEO of Wood’s Homes. “We’ve seen that with the pandemic and post-pandemic especially. I think it’s caught all of us off-guard.”

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It’s something Alberta’s newly-elected Minister of Children’s Services said he hopes to make a priority.

“It’s a huge need right around the entire province,” said Searle Turton, who was sworn-in Friday. “I’ve already met a couple of parents and chatted with them. But I’m still getting briefed by the ministry. I’m anxious to start meeting with stakeholders this week and look forward to having those productive conversations going forward with how we can help children right around Alberta.”

But it’s no small task.

Wood’s Homes is now beginning construction of their $6.3-million facility in Parkdale, bolstered by a $2-million investment by the province.

It will provide ten new beds, but that’s just the beginning. Wood’s Homes is planning to build three more facilities just like it in the next four years.

The need is there. The question is whether the funding will be too.

Construction of the first facility is expected to be completed next summer.

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