January 13th, 2021

Mental health can’t be ignored in COVID-19 recovery

HALIFAX -- Along with the impacts on physical health care and the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge effect on people’s mental health. Today’s Public Accounts Committee is talking about mental health care in Nova Scotia.

“Before the pandemic, people were struggling to access the mental health care they needed. Now, almost a year after the start of the pandemic, the need for increased investment in mental health care has become even more acute,” said NDP Health spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “The Liberal government has to take this into account. Investments in mental health care must be a core part of our response to COVID-19 and how we’re going to support people as we recover from the pandemic.”

The NDP introduced a Mental Health Bill of Rights in September 2018. The NDP bill would ensure 10 per cent of the health care budget is dedicated to mental health care, providing adequate resources for the government to create a system where people can get same-day, next-day mental health care. PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick all have same-day walk-in mental health services.

“People shouldn’t have to wait weeks or months to access mental health care they need in the moment,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “The NDP plan to create same-day, next-day clinics, staffed by mental health professionals, in communities across our province would give people a place to go when they need support. It’s a clear need with a clear solution.”

Nova Scotians report one of the highest lifetime prevalence rates of mental health disorders in Canada -- 41.7 per cent here compared to 33.1 per cent nationally.