PRINCE RUPERT – The B.C. Liberal government has not done enough to address the gap in mental health and addiction services in northern B.C. communities, says northern health critic Jennifer Rice.
“There is a growing crisis of insufficient services for mental health and it’s not just in the Lower Mainland, but across northern B.C. as well,” said Rice. “We know that emergency rooms and police stations are not the best places to be treating people who are struggling with mental illness or addiction, yet the Liberals refuse to treat this situation with the seriousness it deserves and improve the rural health care system.”
Rice recently visited Prince George to meet with local organizations and listen to their concerns about the state of rural health care. She noted the main concern she’s heard is about the lack of mental health and addiction services available.
“People from Prince Rupert to Prince George are struggling to get treatment for the mental health challenges they live with every day, but a government plan to help them is nowhere to be seen. The Liberal government needs to step up and explain to our rural communities just exactly how they plan on meeting our unique health care needs.”
While in Prince George, Rice also joined New Democrat critic for children and family development Carole James for a tour of child and youth service providers. As deputy critic for children and family development, Rice highlighted that the state of youth mental health services is inadequate, with some children having to wait up to eight months for treatment.
New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to take action and make mental health services a priority in rural British Columbia.