Here is the video and transcript of oral questions recorded on 9 November 2016 in the language it was originally spoken.
Mr. Coon: The national average for spending on mental health care across Canada is 7% of
provincial health budgets. The Canadian Mental Health Association is encouraging all provinces to increase their spending to 9%. In New Brunswick, we spend under 4%—less than 4%—of our health budget on mental health care. As a result, we have a crisis in access to mental health care services in our province. Can the Minister of Health ensure that funding for mental health services is brought up to at least the national average in the next budget?
Hon. Mr. Boudreau: I know that mental health is a topic near and dear to the member’s heart. He has raised this issue many times during budgetary estimates and the like. I continue to assure the member opposite that we are making significant investments in mental health. We are going to continue to make more investments in mental health. There is the Action Plan for Mental Health, which is an action plan for 2011 to 2018. In there, many initiatives have been undertaken under this government or are being continued from the previous government, whether it be the Integrated Service Delivery model, whether it be the FACT teams, whether it be our commitment to look at community treatment orders, whether it be our network of excellence, or whether it be the centre of excellence in Campbellton where we are going to be investing significant dollars. We do take mental health very seriously, and we are going to continue to invest significant amounts of money in that sector.
Mr. Coon: Le Plan d’action pour la santé mentale au Nouveau-Brunswick n’a pas l’effet voulu. Ici, le nombre d’appels à la police liés à des crises de santé mentale a augmenté de 40 % au cours
des 5 dernières années. Que fait le ministre de la Santé pour s’assurer que les patients et patientes ayant des problèmes de santé mentale ne se retrouvent pas dans le système de justice?
L’hon. M. Boudreau: Comme je l’ai dit, nous investissons des sommes additionnelles dans la santé mentale, car nous voyons cette question comme étant très importante. Il est vrai que nous avons encore des choses à faire, mais nous continuons à travailler. Nous suivons de très près les recommandations mises de l’avant dans le Plan d’action pour la santé mentale au NouveauBrunswick, qui couvre la période entre 2011 et 2018. Nous faisons des investissements importants. Il y a un modèle en particulier que je veux mentionner, soit celui de la prestation des services intégrés. Nous avons vu, dans les endroits où nous avons mis ce modèle en place, que ce soit dans le comté de Charlotte ou dans la Péninsule acadienne, les listes d’attente être essentiellement éliminées. Maintenant, nous allons mettre ce programme en place partout dans la province. Alors, nous faisons des investissements très spécifiques pour nous assurer d’être là pour offrir les services aux gens du Nouveau-Brunswick quand ils en ont besoin.
Mr. Coon: The problem is that the problems are getting worse. It is getting tougher. This is a
life-and-death issue for many New Brunswickers, particularly for youth. Just a few weeks ago, CTV reported the case of Amanda Browne, a young woman who had attempted suicide three times over the course of three months. In Amanda’s experience, there is no professional therapy available to New Brunswickers like herself who are in crisis. Will the minister ensure that the kind of professional therapy needed in these cases is provided so that we do not let Amanda down?
Hon. Mr. Boudreau: Again, I do not want to take away from the importance of the questions
coming from the leader of the third party. Mental health is a very serious issue. However, it is an issue on which New Brunswick is making significant gains. We are taking what were pilot projects that have proven to be successful, and we are rolling them out province-wide. Whether it be the ISD model or whether it be the FACT teams, these are initiatives that have been tried, tested, and proven to have concrete results for our children and for adults who need these services. We are now taking these programs and rolling them out across the province. We are going to see significant investments. We are going to see positive results.
I come from a Health Ministers’ meeting just a few weeks ago where New Brunswick was being mentioned as one of the provinces to watch when it comes to mental health because of the innovative initiatives that we are undertaking here in New Brunswick.