SYDNEY, NS – Cape Breton PC MLAs Alfie MacLeod, Eddie Orrell and Keith Bain are calling on the McNeil Liberals to explain the true costs and timelines of its plan to address the youth mental health crisis in Cape Breton.
“Yesterday’s announcement from the McNeil Liberals was just smoke and mirrors,” says MacLeod. “The government has provided no timelines, no costs, and no real commitment to when they will actually begin to address the issue of youth mental illness.”
Orrell points out the only cost provided by government yesterday was $192,000 to hire two guidance counsellors and one social worker. However, the CBC reported that these positions aren’t new—in fact, they are positions that already exist but were previously at risk of being cut.
“The truth is that Cape Breton students aren’t getting more guidance counsellors or social workers, and the number they had before already wasn’t adequate,” says Orrell. “We also have no idea how much money is going towards CaperBase and how many more people will be hired to staff the mental health crisis phone line. It’s a huge disappointment.”
Bain adds that more resources are never a bad thing, but the government’s announcement is only a band-aid solution to what’s becoming the greatest health crisis of our time.
“When young people in Cape Breton are in need, where are they referred?” asks Bain. “Emergency rooms are often closed, psychiatrists are not always available and inpatient beds are over-capacity. People in Cape Breton are looking for help and finding closed doors, and yesterday’s announcement does little to change that.”
MacLeod also says he can’t understand why the announcement was made in Halifax instead of in Cape Breton.
“The families and friends who lost loved ones due to mental illness deserved to see the announcement for themselves,” says MacLeod. “There is nothing we can do to make it easier for those suffering from a loss, but the least government could do is make sure those people’s voices and concerns are heard. That didn’t happen yesterday.”