LETHBRIDGE — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair focused on mental health services for young Canadians as he announced another plan to improve public health care and reverse the damage done by years of Liberal and conservatives on Tuesday.
Story continues below
“Every child in Canada should have access to high quality, effective mental health treatment when they need it and that’s not been the case under Stephen Harper’s lost decade,” said Mulcair at the Sik-Ooh- Kotok friendship centre in Lethbridge. “Evidence shows that addressing mental health in children reduces the incidence of serious mental health issues in adulthood, which reduces costs and strain on provincial healthcare systems.”
Mulcair said nearly 1.5 million Canadians under the age of 24 who are affected by mental illness do not receive access to appropriate support, treatment or care
Kristine Cassie with the YWCA in Lethbridge is thrilled with the announcement, and says it’s finally time the government made mental health a top priority.
“We see it at the YWCA, a number of people impacted by mental health, and when it’s not dealt with we see the effects years later.”
“When we look at our women, residents we are dealing with almost 70 per cent of them being diagnosed with mental health issues,” added Cassie.
To support provinces and territories in the delivery of quality mental health services, Mulcair said an NDP government would establish a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth aimed at wait-time reduction and improved care.
The Mental Health Innovation Fund would include:
• A special emphasis on high-risk populations in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as Canadians in rural and remote communities, and youth transitioning from foster care.
• $10 million per year for research and enhanced healthcare collaboration across the country;
• $15 million per year for healthcare providers and community mental health associations to implement best practices for wait-time reductions for better care.
“Our improvements to mental health services will also be supported through our investments to help build 200 health clinics across Canada as part of our comprehensive plan for healthcare,” said Mulcair. “The NDP will improve mental health care services and balance the budget, by asking Canada’s biggest corporations to pay a fair share. Justin Trudeau won’t do that.”
Better mental health services are part of Mulcair’s plan to usher in the next era of quality public health care for all Canadians. He will release additional details of his health care plan in the days ahead and provide a full costing prior to Thursday’s debate.