NDP: Patient’s struggle at Regina ER highlights need for Special Committee on Mental Health

REGINA - In light of the Sask. Party rejecting the creation of a special committee on mental health and addictions despite increasing suicides, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili was joined by Saskatchewan people struggling with mental health to demand the government reconsider its decision.

“This government has struck all kinds of special committees on various issues but has rejected a committee investigating our broken mental health system and disproportionately high suicide rates despite hundreds and hundreds of deaths each year,” said Meili. “By rejecting the special committee on suicide, the Sask. Party is saying loud and clear that the wellness and mental health of Saskatchewan people comes second to politics. Families who have lost loved ones to suicide continue to plea for the committee and the government is simply not listening.”

Members of the Legislative Assembly were joined today by Janice Rathgeber and her brother Dale Rathgeber. Janice works at a care home and lives with her 83-year-old mother. In recent weeks, she required emergency services for mental health twice but was left waiting for hours in Regina ERs for a doctor and medication. She repeatedly banged her head, thrashed and screamed for help but received none on account of staffing shortages. The experience was damaging for her and traumatic for her family.

“People struggling with mental illness like Janice are being repeatedly denied service when they most need it because the Sask. Party is starving our health system of funding and driving away key medical specialists,” said Meili. “The average wait time to access psychiatry services is 113 days, and 1,000 kids are waiting for a child psychiatry consultation in the northern half of the province alone. We need a government that puts the wellbeing of Saskatchewan people first, not one committed to covering up its disastrous mismanagement of our health system.”

The Official Opposition calls on the Government of Saskatchewan to reconsider a bipartisan committee to study and make recommendations to address the mental health and addictions crisis. 

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