Charlottetown rally calls for improvements to mental health system

A rally in Charlottetown on Sunday called for the provincial government to increase funding for mental health services and improved access to services.

'We acknowledge there is a problem,' says province's health minister

A rally was held in downtown Charlottetown on Sunday to raise concerns about the province's mental health system. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

A rally in Charlottetown on Sunday called for the provincial government to increase funding for mental health services and improve access to services.

Some people at the rally, which was held in front of the Honourable George Coles Building near Province House, held signs with demands for better mental health services on behalf of the #HowManyWade campaign.

More than 3,000 people have joined the #HowmanyWade Facebook group, which is aiming to collect and share 100 mental health stories in 100 days of Island families who feel they have been failed by the system.

Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson spoke at the rally.

Melody Garnhum spoke to Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson and told him that things need to change. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

He said Islander's stories are being heard and that improving services is a priority for the provincial government. He then talked about the programs in place and the plan to recruit three more psychiatrists to P.E.I.

When he talked about the government's achievements and plans to invest money into the system, the crowd shouted remarks such as "Too late" and "Where's Wade?" in reference to P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

Speaking after the rally, Melody Garnhum told CBC News about how the mental health care system has failed her and her son. She also spoke with Henderson.

"I told him that we need to see actual change," she said.

Health and Wellness minister Robert Henderson spoke at the rally about what the province is doing to improve mental health services. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Garnhum added that more needs to be done beyond programs and prescription medication.

"Actually help. Talk to them. Get to know them. Get to the root of the problem," she said.

Speaking to CBC News, Henderson reiterated that there are programs in place and asked the public for more time so they can be assessed.

"We acknowledge there is a problem. We're not disputing that by any means. And, the problem didn't happen overnight. So, we just ask for a bit of patience to see how these initiatives work," he said.​

With files from Nicole Williams