Cuts to mental health grants harmful

May 18, 2015

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says Premier Stephen McNeil and Health Minister Leo Glavine need to explain why funding organizations that support Nova Scotians with mental illness is no longer part of the government’s “core mandate.” 

In an email dated May 11 obtained by the NDP Caucus, Francine Vezina, the Coordinator of Children Services for the Department of Health and Wellness, said “the Mental Health, Children’s Services and Addictions Branch will not be able to fund the Consumer Led Initiative Grants” this fiscal year. She also states the decision was made after departments were asked “to refocus on their core mandates.”

MacDonald says this decision shows a lack of priorities on the part of the McNeil government. Funding for Consumer Led Initiative Grants was part of the 5-year mental health strategy announced by the previous government.  

“For a very small amount of money people living with mental illness, especially young adults, had opportunities to connect with others, find expression for their anxieties, depression, and participate in anti-stigma work. All essential elements for keeping heathy,” says MacDonald  “This cut is very shortsighted because this funding helped keep people from ending up in the exceptionally expensive acute care system.”

She adds, “the government needs to be doing more to support those with mental illness, not making petty cuts.”

A CBC story published this morning said the cost of these grants in the previous fiscal year was $172,000.