The role of your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) is to represent you and your perspectives. The BC Provincial Election will be held on May 9, 2017 where citizens will vote in the new Legislative Assembly. Now is the time to have your voice heard. Call the people who are running for office. Send a bold message that mental health and addiction are important voting issues in your community.
Will you take a minute to call your candidates? Let them know that you stand behind the b4stage4 declaration. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page and the system will automatically identify your candidates from each party based on your postal code.
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”.
 Mental Health Commission of Canada (2017). Strengthening the Case for Investing in Canada’s Mental Health System: Economic Considerations. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/sites/default/files/2017-03/case_for_investment_eng.pdf
 Children’s Mental Health Ontario. (2016). Children, youth and families wait too long for life-saving mental health treatment: Wait times for counselling and therapy. Retrieved from: http://files.constantcontact.com/314f3f09501/b9c06c94-2dae-4903-a5de-78f17ccf73ee.pdf?ver=1480699749000
  Barua, B. (2015). Waiting your turn: Wait times for health care in Canada. Fraser Institute.
 Ministry of Health. (2017). Factsheet: Actions to prevent overdoses in B.C. Retrieved from: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/actions-to-prevent-overdoses-in-bc