Canada

Saskatchewan NDP pledges expanded mental health access if elected

Cam Broten says, if elected, the NDP will bring more mental health workers to Northern Saskatchewan.

Cam Broten says, if elected, the NDP will bring more mental health workers to Northern Saskatchewan

Cam Broten is leader of the provincial NDP in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

The Saskatchewan NDP has pledged that, if elected, they will expand mental health access across the province, including in the north.

"Mental health care is health care, plain and simple. We need to treat it that way," NDP Leader Cam Broten said in a press release Tuesday.

Broten also said the party would provide free mental health supports for children and youth.

The pledge included:

  • Covering mental health care as an insured service for children and youth, for up to eight counseling sessions per year.
  • Creating two provincial mental health specialty clinics to reduce waits.
  • Expanding a pilot program in which mental health and crisis intervention professionals are partnered with police officers.

Broten said he was inspired while spending time in La Loche, Sask. following the school shooting in January.

"Teachers told me that they watch their students struggle with mental health challenges," Broten said in the release.

"And while they described children coping with rage and depression, teachers and parents told me the wait for a mental health assessment is far too long. And often, because of the lack of resources, when the appointment finally comes, the mental health worker has been called away to a crisis."

The NDP pledged to expand the Hub program, made up of representatives from police, social work, education and public health, to northern communities. They also promised to hire more mental health workers to be based in Northern Saskatchewan.

The provincial election is on April 4. 

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