Liberal mismanagement of Nova Scotia’s mental health system is failing Nova Scotians and costing lives, said Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie.
“The McNeil Liberals deny there is a crisis in our mental health system. Unfortunately, too many families know the tragic results of the broken system,” Baillie said. “A new Progressive Conservative government will take action to fix the system that has failed so many.”
Fran Morrison, of Port Caledonia, lost her 21-year-old son Eric to suicide in 2011. Eric and his family did all the right things. They sought help from the health system. Eric died by suicide while waiting for an appointment to see a psychiatrist.
“Mental health services are, at this point in time, totally ineffective – crisis is an understatement,” Morrison said. “People are being sent home with pills and no follow-up.”
For two years, improving the province’s mental health system has been a priority for Baillie and his PC team. Even though it is too often difficult for Nova Scotians to access the mental health services they need, the McNeil government cut funding to community support organizations like the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Eating Disorders Nova, the Schizophrenia Association of Nova Scotia, Be, Think, Feel Aboriginal Mental Health and the Alzheimer’s Society.
“A PC government will work with advocacy and support groups to improve the system, rather than making it harder for them to do their important work in communities,” Baillie said.
To improve mental health services, a PC government will:
- Establish Mental Health Crisis Response Centres to divert people undergoing a mental health crisis from Emergency Rooms to a facility, staffed by trained mental health professionals, to receive appropriate and informed treatment.
- Put decision-making in healthcare back into local regions.
- Provide all students with access to in-school mental health services.
- Expand mental health courts across the province.
- Make Nova Scotia a leader in mental health research and innovation. A PC government will create a Mental Health and Wellness Institute in concert with a Nova Scotia university and attract mental health experts.
“The system failed Eric and his family,” Baillie said. “A Progressive Conservative government will take the mental health system seriously and focus on making it client-centred so that other families don’t have to suffer as Fran’s has.”