The 2017 BC provincial election is a profound opportunity to move the needle on mental health and addictions care within the province. There is no doubt that healthcare reform and responses to the opioid crisis are important campaign issues.
In the past few weeks, all of the major BC political parties have released their election platforms and drawn attention to their existing policy documents. We are seeing a substantial emphasis on mental health and addictions. From the Liberals' promise to allocate $165 million to youth mental health needs, to NDP’s commitment to prevention and early intervention for all health issues, including mental illness and addiction, to the Greens longstanding dedication to creating a community-based public healthcare system, the next Legislative Assembly promises to take action for better mental health in British Columbia.
Take a look at the platform commitments each party pledges to deliver. You can use this information to start a conversation with the candidates in your riding. Email. Tweet. Call. Ask how these promises will be turned into action.
Alternatively check out the audio recording of our Vancouver Island South Candidate Forum! Hear Carole James speak for the BC NDP's and Chris Maxwell speak for the Greens' platform commitments for mental health and addiction.
Your voice is integral to furthering the b4stage4 campaign!
Interested in learning more? Check out each party’s full platform:
BC Liberals’ Strong BC Bright Future
New Democratic Party’s Working for you: Our commitments to build a better BC.
BC Conservatives’ Policy Document of the British Columbia Conservative Party
Greens of British Columbia’s Platform 2017
Ready to speak to your local candidates? Use this guide to start the conversation:
1. Tell them that mental health and addiction is a key election issue for you. If you have a personal story – share it. If not - you can simply say ”Too many people are waiting for basic mental health care."
2. Then ask...
“If elected, how will your party work towards better mental health in BC as of May 10th?"
3. If they say…
- We will invest in mental health needs and substance use issues – tell them that where the money is spent is more important than simply spending the money. We must prioritize early intervention and prevention. There is strong evidence to suggest that if we intervene early in primary care settings and provide access to community-based services and supports, people can and do recover from mental illnesses and/or addictions. This reorientation of care will not only provide help at the first sign of symptoms, but also alleviate some of the burden placed on acute care facilities. Ask them where they will invest.
- We will establish a Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions – tell them that this is great step forward for parity between mental health and addiction, and physical health, but won't immediately solve the critical shortages, we are experiencing in our healthcare system. Ask them how the establishment of a separate Ministry will ensure treatment is available and effective for those in need.
- We will address the opioid crisis to reduce overdose deaths - tell them we need strategies that respond rather than react. We must create an integrated addictions system of care that can fully support someone from illness to health. This foundation is crucial for the effective implementation of further harm reduction strategies, such as public education on the dangers of fentanyl-laced street drugs, safe-injection sites, and drug-substitution therapy . People are more likely to recover if they have access to appropriate facilities, services and supports.
4. Be sure to end the conversation with the message “I am voting for mental health”.
Authorized by Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, 1-800-555-8222, and Department of Policy, Planning and Research, Jonny Morris, 1-800-555-8222 ext. 5372, registered sponsors under the Election Act.