With more reports of an increase in suicide attempts in Black Lake, NDP Deputy Leader and Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger is calling on the Sask. Party government to finally stop their irresponsible and callous cuts and immediately invest in mental health care.
“Mental health care is woefully underfunded across Saskatchewan but, in the North, the situation is even more serious,” Belanger said. “The suicide crisis in Northern Saskatchewan isn’t over, and these cuts from the Sask. Party are making a bad situation even worse.”
More than 4,500 people live in the Athabasca Basin but there is only one mental health worker living there to meet the communities’ needs. Recent Sask. Party cuts have also lead to a restriction in overtime at the Athabasca Health Authority. As a result, wait times have increased and access for communities like Black Lake has been dangerously reduced.
“When tragedies strike, the government is quick to express their thoughts and condolences and people appreciate that. But what they really want to see is action – not empty words – on things like mental health care to help prevent the tragedies in the first place,” said Belanger. “It’s not the people in the north that caused the Sask. Party to blow through billions with their mismanagement, scandal, and waste so why is the Sask. Party making them pay the price?”