Manitoba

'Everyone should have access': Mental health a priority for Manitoba Liberals

Manitoba's Liberals say they would make mental-health care a priority if the party were to win the Sept. 10 provincial election.

'There is plenty of evidence that these investments in mental-health care pay off,' Liberal leader says

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said improving access to quality mental health care is a priority for his party. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Manitoba's Liberals say they would make mental-health care a priority if the party were to win the Sept. 10 provincial election.

Leader Dougald Lamont says a Liberal government would cover clinical psychological therapy as part of medicare and invest in training mental-health professionals.

It would also pay for psychological assessments and treatments for children with learning and behavioural disabilities.

Lamont says waiting lists for assessments currently stand at two to three years in some parts of the province.

He says he has heard from many families who have struggled to get their children into therapy because they don't have insurance and waiting lists are long.

He adds that Manitoba, at five per cent, spends less on mental-health care than the national average of seven per cent.

"Mental-health care is health care, and everyone should have access to it," Lamont said in a release Thursday.

He also promised that a Liberal government would work with universities and colleges to increase the number of fully licensed psychologists in Manitoba.

Last year, the province had 19 psychologists per 100,000 people — less than half the national figure of 49 per 100,000, he said.

Lamont pointed out that the Progressive Conservative government under Brian Pallister delayed for months signing a new federal health-care funding agreement that offered $400 million, including money for mental-health care.

Liberals estimate the cost of a training and mental-health delivery program, based on models in the United Kingdom, to treat 10,000 adults a year would be $7 million by the fourth year. Psychological counselling would cost $15 million.

"There is plenty of evidence that these investments in mental-health care pay off because people are able to get back to work. It also prevents a downward spiral that keeps people out of crisis and the ER," said Lamont.


Sign up for CBC Manitoba's newsletter for insight into the latest election news. Every week until the campaign ends, we'll send you a roundup of what you need to know.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now