EDMONTON, AB (February 4, 2014): The mental health initiatives announced by the Government of Alberta are a good start but much more is needed, Wildrose Official Opposition said today. “The announcement yesterday of enhanced mental health services for children in government care is a good start, but falls short of addressing the problem,” Human Services Critic Kerry Towle said.
“The initiative comes a full two and a half years after they were recommended in the 2011 Mental Health Strategy. We need more action on mental health and taking credit for things that were announced more than two years ago isn’t that.” Towle also noted that the announcement included $5 million in funding, but that is the exact same dollar amount that was cut from last spring’s mental health budget. “It is good that the government is reversing their cut to mental health programs, but it is a little rich to take credit for expanding mental health support when all they seem to be doing is reversing that cut,” Towle said. Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth also called on the government to release a comprehensive report and analysis of the entire spectrum of mental health programming and services. This gap-analysis report was drafted by Dr. Cam Wild and its purpose was to identify the effectiveness of the mental health programs and funding currently in place. “This report has been sitting on the Health Ministers desk and should have been released to the public a month ago,” Forsyth said. “Without seeing the report drafted by Dr. Wild, how can anyone be confident that the supports announced today are the most effective use of resources?”