Following the Child and Youth Advocate’s appearance before the Standing Committee on Procedure, Privileges and Legislative Officers, the Office of the Official Opposition is echoing the concern about youth mental health services in the province.
“Year after year, we have failed the young people and people affected by mental health issues of this province. We talk about the importance of mental health and we encourage people to speak up and get help, but is that help accessible? Have we done everything we can to ensure young New Brunswickers have somewhere to turn when they need help? I don’t think so” says Roger Melanson, Leader of the Official Opposition. “While it was necessary to see strict public health guidelines during the pandemic, being isolated from friends and extended family has been very difficult on everyone’s mental health, especially youth who are in a prime socializing age.”
In the 2020 State of the Child report, the Child and Youth Advocate recommends government undertake a comprehensive survey of students in grades three to twelve to understand the impacts of the pandemic with a focus on wellness.
“I don’t think we know the full scope of the mental health challenges the youth in our province are facing, many in silence and isolation. I think we could benefit from such a survey, but only if government truly acts on the recommendations that come from it” says Melanson. “We don’t need another document siting on a shelf, we need action.”
During his appearance at the Standing Committee on Procedure, Privileges and Legislative Officers, Liberal Opposition members asked the Child and Youth Advocate about Horizon Health’s review following the tragic death of Lexi Daken.
“The contents of that review could be vital in preventing future tragedies. We believe that if the family gives their consent, this review should be made public in its original form. We can’t let only a handful of people see this review” says the interim Liberal leader.