Bev Gutray, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division made the following statement in response to today’s Speech from the Throne:
“Today’s throne speech is encouraging for the mental health and addictions community in the areas of housing, poverty reduction and worker protection. This promised investment in social housing and affordable rental housing is long-overdue, and is desperately needed in communities across BC. We know that people can’t recover from mental illness and addiction without a safe place to go home, and we know that safe and secure housing is key to support health and well-being. We will be there to support and partner with the provincial government as they make this historic investment.
Poverty is also a key determinant of overall health, including mental illness, and we applaud this government’s commitment to reduce poverty. As well as preventing poverty in the first place, we need to make sure that developing a serious mental illness does not prescribe people to a lifetime of poverty. The government’s commitment to a poverty reduction strategy with cross-ministerial cooperation to address this complex problem is promising. We also want to see more support for people with mental illness and substance use to return to or obtain paid employment, and look forward to discussing this further.
The throne speech highlights worker protection and worker safety, which are both important to mental health. We believe that safety at work must include safety from psychological injury as well as physical injury. We hope to build on this commitment so that workers’ psychological injuries are weighed as seriously as physical injuries.
We agree with the government’s statement that, ‘too many people do not have access to the health care they need.’ Nowhere is this more true than in the area of mental health and substance use services. We know from decades of research and experience that better mental health care is more than building hospitals and responding when people are in crisis; it’s about providing the right care, early enough, in the right setting. We appreciate the urgent response to the opioid crisis, but remind the BC government that at the same time we must make corresponding investments in treatment earlier on.”
Lorna Allen, Communications Coordinator – Media, CMHA BC Division
P: 604-688-3234 ext. 6326