October 16, 2018

Rapid and significant deterioration: NDP failing Alberta children on mental health

The NDP government is failing Albertans when it comes to children’s mental health services and must be held to account, said Alberta’s United Conservatives.

The quietly released Alberta Health Services annual report shows rapid and significant deterioration in children’s mental health performance measures since the NDP took office in 2015 despite regular funding increases.

According to the report, the percentage of children receiving required scheduled mental health treatments is steadily declining from 82 per cent in 2014 to just 67 per cent in the last fiscal year.

“We have never been more aware as a society of the importance of timely access to mental health care for everyone, especially children,” said United Conservative Health Critic Tany Yao. “Albertans deserve to know what has changed in the last three years to cause these deteriorating outcomes and why the NDP has allowed this to go unchecked.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, between 10 and 20 per cent of youth in Canada are affected by a mental illness or disorder, with approximately 5 per cent of male youth and 12 per cent of female youth experiencing a major depressive episode.

“While the NDP government spends their time peddling baseless claims about the United Conservatives and health care, the reality facing Albertans is a declining health care system where it costs more to get less,” said Yao. “That’s inexcusable, especially when it comes to children’s mental health.”

In the Legislature earlier this year, United Conservative leader Jason Kenney repeatedly raised the issue of declining health care outcomes under the NDP government but received no meaningful answers as to why these performance measures have tanked under their watch.