NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Mental Health and Addictions Critic Danielle Chartier were joined by Carey Rigby-Wilcox and her husband Rich Wilcox at the Legislature today as they shared their son Steven’s tragic story and advocated for change.
“What happened with Steven, Carey and Rich is something that no parent or no one facing a mental health crisis should have to go through,” Chartier said. “It points to the glaring holes that the province has in its mental health system and how the government’s lack of action is letting people down.”
On several occasions, Steven was turned away from hospitals and supports were not available, despite his pleas for help and multiple suicide attempts. In one case, he was in a hospital in North Battleford after attempting suicide and was released 45 minutes later. Days before he died, he was admitted to the Dubé Centre with his chart noting his intent to provoke police to shoot him. Despite this, he was released later in the day. Days later he died in a confrontation with Saskatoon police.
“My son was failed every step of the way,” Rigby-Wilcox said. “What I would like to see now is an inquest that not only includes Steven’s cause of death, but an inquest into the health services leading up to the day he passed, so this never happens again.”
“People who are facing mental health issues are continuing to fall through the cracks, and we need a government that will address the broken mental health care system,” Meili said. “To start, the province needs a mental health and addictions stream of emergency health care to ensure people get the help they need, when they need it. It can be a matter of life and death.”