July 25, 2017
Winnipeg, MB – Wab Kinew announced today that if he is elected leader of the Manitoba NDP, mental health services will form a core part of the NDP approach to health care. And he committed to investing $500,000 per year towards treatment beds to help those with complex and co-occurring addictions issues.
Mental health is the second pillar of Kinew’s health care plan, which he is rolling out this month. Last week, Kinew committed publicly to expanded pharmacare.
“Our vision is of a Manitoba where everyone carefully considers their mental health, and is supported to take the steps they need to reach their best possible level of well-being,” said Kinew. “While good initiatives, like the creation of the Mental Health Crisis Response Centre, have reduced the burden on emergency rooms, they are consistently under resourced given the importance of the services they provide. Far too many cannot afford psychological and psychiatric services without private coverage. This isn’t fair, and we must do better.”
“I have traveled to communities across the province, including First Nations, and seen what happens when our health system overlooks mental health, as teens and families struggle with suicide and self-harm. Brian Pallister’s slash-and-burn approach to health care will only make these situations worse. Doctors, nurses and families are standing up and saying ‘stop,’ and the NDP will stand by their side calling for an end to these reckless cuts.”
Kinew announced that if he were leader of an NDP government, he would immediately invest $500,000 per year towards the creation of treatment beds that employ harm-reduction approaches, where people can detox from alcohol or other substances while still being treated for their opiate addictions. This approach would differ from abstinence-based approaches that require those with co-occurring addictions seeking treatment to give up the methadone or suboxone supports that have helped them stabilize.
“When people seek out detox programs, they’re learning skills that will help them in many aspects of life. Suboxone and methadone are important tools that have allowed those addicted to opioids to stabilize, and asking them to give it up while they’re trying to beat an alcohol addiction puts a barrier on their path to a healthier life for them and their family.”
“This measure would be the start of a new approach. We need to recognize that mental health is related to other co-occurring health factors, like addictions, and approach them together. We cannot ignore one and expect to treat the other. The costs of not considering the way these elements of well-being relate to one another are just too high.”