NDP joins mental health and addictions advocates in calling for more funding

According to advocates who came to the Legislature today seeking government action, far too many people in the province who are looking for help with their addictions cannot get it because services are lacking and the wait times for treatment are long.

“We need more than just lip service from the Sask. Party when it comes to providing people the supports they need. We need concrete actions,” said NDP Mental Health and Addictions Critic Danielle Chartier. “Addictions can devastate families, but it’s even worse when those who suffer from them can’t get access to the supports that will help them beat their disease.”

Chartier, along with mental health and addictions advocates such as Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman, a retired anesthesiologist who is in long-term recovery from a substance misuse disorder, have been calling for the Sask. Party to raise the percentage of health dollars that are devoted to mental health and addictions. Currently, only five per cent of Saskatchewan’s health budget goes to mental health and addictions, but the Canadian average is seven per cent and rising.

“I know of people who have died waiting for a bed. That’s not a reality that we should just come to accept as normal,” said Gore-Hickman. “The solutions and remedies are there, but when people don’t have proper access to them, we won’t get the positive outcomes.”

“Why are we letting Saskatchewan people slip through the cracks because of the lack of mental health and addiction support? At a time when the crystal meth and opioid crisis is robbing families of their loved ones throughout the province, these families are looking to the government to take bold action that recognizes the seriousness of the crisis,” Chartier said.