Youth advocate wants Yukon mental health centre
Says long waits, long distances deter families from getting help
The Yukon's child and youth advocate wants a mental health and addictions treatment centre for youth in the territory.
Andy Nieman says the current outlook for youth with mental health or addictions problems is bleak: a long wait for diagnosis and treatment, thousands of kilomteres away.
"And then the children and youth, because there's no services, they turn to alcohol and drugs to stabilize themselves, to cope, to just basically get through the next few hours," he said.
Nieman said it's his job as advocate to make sure that youth get the help they need. He said families often give up in despair.
"They've lost faith in the system, so they don't even bother attempting to access services, simply because they know that if they access the services, then they have to go outside the Yukon."
The solution, Nieman said, is a diagnostic and treatment centre here and that means a commitment from government.
It's a promise Premier Darrell Pasloski made during the 2011 election campaign and Nieman says now it's time to deliver.
He's starting a group to begin work on the idea.