Huron County may see provincial pilot program to address mental health concerns

Huron East Mayor, Bernie MacLellan, says it looks like Huron County is going to get one of four Provincial pilot projects aimed at addressing the opioid crisis, homelessness and mental health issues.

MacLellan represents Huron County on the AMO Health Task Force and took part in a recent round-table discussion with Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo in which each of the participants described the situation in their county. 

MacLellan says county C-A-O, Meighan Wark and Warden Glen McNeil have already spoken with Huron-Bruce M-P-P, Lisa Thompson and she had passed on some of the county’s concerns to the Minister. 

MacLellan says the Minister spoke with him after his presentation and noted that Huron County doesn’t just have one urban centre, it has several. “Each urban centre may have unique circumstances, that it sounded like Huron County was going to be used as one of the four pilot projects that the Province is going to work with to try and figure out how we can start to resolve some of these issues.”

MacLellan says he doesn’t know exactly what the program will look like or when it will start to be implemented, but he says he is encouraged by the interest shown by the Minister and the recognition that rural Ontario communities have their own unique problems. “You can’t just come up with one program and say it’s going to work right across the Province so, I’m going to say there’s some really good thinking going on about the fact that, not only is it a big problem, but it’s a unique problem, depending on where you are and they all have to be looked at individually.” 

MacLellan also suggests that a pilot program in Huron County could become a model for programs in similar rural communities.