The Liberal Opposition is demanding that significant investments into mental health be included in the upcoming provincial budget, which will be presented to the Legislative Assembly on March 16th.
“The needs of New Brunswickers suffering from mental health issues are not being met, real changes must be made,” says Rob McKee, Liberal finance critic. “The status quo is not acceptable; the Higgs government must include significant investments into mental health in their upcoming budget.”
The tragic suicide of a teenage girl who tried on multiple occasions to receive help and access appropriate mental health services has highlighted how the current system is failing those looking for support.
“Until everyone has access to mental health support when they need it, our system will continue to fail the people of New Brunswick,” says Rob McKee. “There are multiple reports recommending ways to improve the mental health system in New Brunswick, but nothing can be done without significant financial investment.”
While the issues with mental health care are not new, Rob McKee says the pandemic has created the potential for a mental health crisis.
“While one of the best tools to fight the spread of Covid-19 is staying home, the isolation can be very difficult for people struggling with mental health issues. If changes are not implemented immediately, I fear a serious mental health crisis in the province” says McKee. “In light of recent events, I don’t believe the government’s five-year mental health plan is sufficient. People are falling through the cracks and we don’t have time to waste. Government should take the necessary steps to implement their plan in three years, instead of five. While the current plan has some good initiatives, it does not include plans to address the immediate needs that are being intensified by the pandemic and further delays the opening of the mental health centre for youth.”