September 18, 2019

Winnipeg
23° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

More funding needed for mental health, addictions, parties agree

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>From left to right, Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, PC Party of Manitoba, Uzoma Asagwara, Manitoba NDP, Andrea Shalay, Green Party of Manitoba, and Jon Gerard, Liberal Party of Manitoba, take part in a mental health debate in Winnipeg Tuesday.</p>

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

From left to right, Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, PC Party of Manitoba, Uzoma Asagwara, Manitoba NDP, Andrea Shalay, Green Party of Manitoba, and Jon Gerard, Liberal Party of Manitoba, take part in a mental health debate in Winnipeg Tuesday.

More treatment options. More supportive housing. And, most of all, more money.

Representatives from the four main political parties agreed on many points Tuesday night, including that mental-health and addictions systems have historically been chronically underfunded in Manitoba.

The national average for Canadian provinces and territories when it comes to mental-health and addictions funding is around 7.2 per cent of their health-care budgets. Manitoba lags behind, investing about 5.1 per cent.

Twenty-one community agencies, co-chaired by Sara Riel Inc. and Jewish Child and Family Services, organized a community mental-health and addictions forum at the Asper Jewish Community Campus in River Heights on Tuesday night.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

More treatment options. More supportive housing. And, most of all, more money.

Representatives from the four main political parties agreed on many points Tuesday night, including that mental-health and addictions systems have historically been chronically underfunded in Manitoba. 

The national average for Canadian provinces and territories when it comes to mental-health and addictions funding is around 7.2 per cent of their health-care budgets. Manitoba lags behind, investing about 5.1 per cent.

Twenty-one community agencies, co-chaired by Sara Riel Inc. and Jewish Child and Family Services, organized a community mental-health and addictions forum at the Asper Jewish Community Campus in River Heights on Tuesday night. 

The community groups called on whichever party forms government next to address the sector’s funding shortfalls and increase mental-health and addictions care budgets to nine per cent of health-care budgets to address the previous lack of funding.

Candidates from the four main political parties agreed there was more investment needed, especially in prevention and early intervention services for youth, where the community groups recommended spending eight per cent of the health-care budget.

Andrea Shalay, the Green party candidate for Union Station, said her party would want to spend around 10 per cent of the health-care budget on prevention, while Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard said his party would aim higher with 10 to 20 per cent spending in the area.

Cameron Friesen, the PC MLA for Morden-Winkler and former health minister, wouldn’t commit to particular funding targets, but called the eight per cent figure a "legitimate, worthy goal." 

He also hinted more flexible-length withdrawal beds, aimed at treating those with methamphetamine addictions, are on the way "within the coming days and weeks." 

Uzoma Asagwara, the NDP candidate for Union Station, underscored the need to address the social determinants of health, including poverty and intergenerational trauma, to quell mental-health and addiction issues.

Asagwara, who works as a psychiatric nurse and addictions specialist, appeared to be the crowd favourite, receiving loud applause to almost every one of her responses to questions. 

She repeatedly emphasized the need to bring diverse voices to decision-making tables when it comes to mental-health and addictions policy, including the perspectives of folks with lived experience and those from traditionally marginalized communities.

Gerrard received the first mid-question applause break of the night when he emphasized the province’s need to hire more psychologists. The province has 19 psychologists available per 100,000 people, while the national average sits at 49 per 100,000.

By press time, the candidates were just beginning to answer questions from the audience of about 150 people.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us