Wotherspoon commits to universal mental health coverage, welcomes Danielle Chartier’s endorsement

Today NDP Leadership candidate Trent Wotherspoon committed to universal mental health coverage and welcomed the endorsement of Saskatoon Riversdale MLA Danielle Chartier, NDP Critic for Health.

“Mental healthcare is healthcare. Period. But unfortunately, far too many Saskatchewan people are forced to suffer in silence without access to the mental health and addictions care they need,” Wotherspoon said. “A province that works for everyone removes barriers to services and provides wrap-around services as soon as someone reaches out to say they need help.”

Wotherspoon committed to expanding mental health coverage by:

  • Expanding to full coverage of counseling, psychiatric, and psychological services for mental health and addictions,
  • Hiring more mental health and addictions professionals (including psychiatric nurses, doctors, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and peer and family support workers) to ensure timely services and wrap-around support in urban, rural, First Nations, and Northern communities,
  • Investing in harm reduction and increasing the availability of addictions treatment,
  • Partnering with First Nations, Métis, and Northern communities to take immediate action and address the suicide crisis in the North,
  • Reimagining emergency care, including building specialized emergency centres for patients facing mental health or addictions crises by looking to other models of best practice that address mental health patients' unique needs.

“There is no reason why someone struggling with a physical injury should be able to get quick access care while someone struggling with a serious mental health or addictions issue should be forced to pay out of pocket and wait months before being able to get help,” Wotherspoon said. "Properly supporting mental health is long overdue – mental health has been stigmatized and underfunded relative to other health care services for far too long."

Canada lags behind when it comes to mental health funding levels among comparable industrialized nations, and Saskatchewan trails the national average. 

Wotherspoon noted that money for the required investments would come from the $158 million provided by the federal government for new mental health programming and ongoing costs associated with coverage would be more than offset by savings. Even the Sask. Party government’s own report on mental health states that for every $1 spent in mental health and addictions treatment, $7 is saved in further health costs and $30 in lost productivity.

“I’ve worked with Trent in the Legislature and across the province to fight for better mental health care. I know that he is serious about improving care for everyone, and I know he’s the best choice to lead our party in the next election,” Chartier said. “Trent has what it takes to win in 2020 so that we can introduce universal coverage for mental health.”


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Mitchell Bonokoski