#Mental Health Crisis --Like the folks in the continuing care system in Alberta the mentally ill are a powerless group who are considered to be a burden by all. It's pretty sad. No one chooses to be mentally ill or for that matter to be in the continuing care system. But when you are in either of these two groups, you are at the bottom of the pyramid of power and goodies. The elite (our politicians and their buddies) get such rewards for their position at the top of the pyramid. The mentally ill, the seniors in the continuing care system and the poor get the least of the goodies. It won't change no matter who we hire. Families need to join up to do the work for our families who have no voice in our society. We need to form umbrella organizations and join up to vote out each and every political party until the voices of our powerless family members are heard.
#Mental Health Crisis-despite the soothing words of the NDP folks we do not actually have a functional mental health system. Folks need more than money to get this system working. There needs to be planning and deliverables. So far I have seen no changes in the mental health system and Dr. Swann is correct to be critical of the performance of Alberta Health. Why for example was there no continued topping up of funds for the Regional Collaborative Services Delivery Model that is so essential for school age kids? Why are political hires so short sighted? A little money early on prevents major expenditures later on when problems become intractable. Poor performance by the NDP folks in this portfolio that matches the spin stories we heard from the PCs with reference to the mental health system. No one is interested in helping the mentally ill because they're not rich, they're not powerful, and heck they are a cost to the system. Very sad.
Swann urges NDP government to fully implement mental health review
Published on: May 5, 2017 | Last Updated: May 5, 2017 5:25 PM MDT
FILE PHOTO: Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann. KUCERAK, IAN / POSTMEDIA
A frustrated David Swann is pushing the NDP government to take more action on the mental health review released well over a year ago.
The Alberta Liberal leader co-chaired the review initiated by Premier Rachel Notley, which released a report with 32 recommendations in February, 2016.
The government said at the time that financial constraints meant it could only act upon six of the proposals, including new medical detox beds to treat addictions.
But with Mental Health Week currently underway, Swann told the legislature this week he expected more progress from the government as he called on the NDP to fully implement the report.
“Tragically, we continue to see increasing incidents of mental illness and addictions across Alberta, including opiates and preventable deaths, now approaching two per day,” said Swann.
In an interview Friday, the Calgary-Mountain View MLA said the provision of mental health and addiction services remains spotty and the government must ensure primary care networks are actually able to deliver care — and that those services are working.
Continuing conflicts between AHS and the provincial health ministry contributes to a lack of leadership as the opioids file falls to an overburdened chief medical officer of health, said Swann. And while the government talks about eliminating the bureaucratic barriers to service, it cut funding to a regional collaborative service model that brings together education, health and social services in the Red Deer area, he added.
“The whole mental health system has been failing. It’s been one silo dealing with another silo and people are kind of caught in between those silos trying to navigate and getting inconsistent recommendations because they don’t talk to each other,” said Swann, who also mentioned timelier access to opioid treatment clinics outside of Calgary and Edmonton, and additional assistance for first responders as key issues.
Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne said Friday she respected Swann but disagreed with his take on the situation.
She said the government is now moving on all the recommendations in the mental health report, noting the NDP nearly doubled funding for mental health and addictions, to $80.5 million, in the March provincial budget. Of that amount $15 million is earmarked specifically to deal with the mental health report proposals.
Payne said the government is working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the primary care networks to address mental health and addictions service issues. Mental health agencies meanwhile have been brought together to work on how the report commendations can best be put into action.
“There will always be more work to do. There will always be a need for additional resources needed. But I think this puts us on a good path moving forward,” said Payne.
Callum Ross, advocacy and policy lead for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary, said the government has done a good job of enlisting stakeholder groups to consider how to deal with the intricacies of the recommendations in the mental health review.
The province must figure out the best way to move on proposals such as calls to enhance mental health and addiction support in schools, expand police crisis teams to more communities and providing “dedicated navigators” to help patients and families find the services they need.
“We’re never going to hire enough psychiatrists to fulfill some of these recommendations. We’re going to have to work in quite a complex way to figure this out,” said Ross.