Michele McCleave-Kennedy released a statement today in response to a call from Algoma Public Health. The agency requested that the candidates outlined their plans to address mental and addiction in the Sault.
Below is the statement released by McCleave-Kennedy;
Thank you for your important questions regarding Andrea Horwath and the NDP’s plan to address mental health, addictions, and opioid use. After more than 20 years of Liberal and Conservative governments, the system is broken.
As an educational assistant here in Sault Ste. Marie, I’ve seen first-hand what happens when mental health services aren’t offered in a timely and efficient manner, so I’m excited that Andrea Horwath and an NDP government will transform mental health care for the better.
New Democrats will establish a new, dedicated Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. It will have one job: coordinating and building the integrated mental health and addictions services that Ontario needs, delivered close to home, consistently and comprehensively across the province. We will ensure access to mental health care for more than 28,000 Ontarians every year by hiring 2,200 new mental health care workers.
New Democrats will build 30,000 new supportive housing units that will help people who are ready to begin recovering, helping them rebuild their lives in a safe, stable home with the services and supports they need.
We will make the investments needed to ensure that any young person in crisis can get the care they need. The NDP will invest $590 million over five years to expand services and increase staff. Based on recommendations by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, we believe this will ensure every child gets care within 30 days.
New Democrats will hire 400 more mental health care workers, in order to provide mental health supports in every high school.
We will invest $100 million in Ontario’s Dementia Strategy
An NDP government will take immediate action on the opioid emergency that has touched every community in Ontario. Deaths from drugs like fentanyl have cast a shadow on thousands of families.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP will declare a public health emergency, recognizing the scope and seriousness of the crisis and mobilizing resources across the province. We will focus urgently on harm reduction, to save lives now. We will expand the distribution of Naloxone and other anti-overdose medications, and support the establishment and operation of supervised injection sites and overdose prevention sites wherever they are needed.
New Democrats will listen to front-line harm reduction workers and people with lived experience because they are the experts — and the heroes who are saving lives every day. We will work with police services across the province, ensuring they have the resources to pursue traffickers and high-level dealers, while recognizing addiction and treating addicts with dignity. And we will work with the Opioid Emergency Task Force to provide evidence-based strategies to save lives and fight addiction.
I’m proud of the commitments we have made to addressing mental health and addictions issues, and am looking forward to implementing our plan here in Sault Ste. Marie.