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Minister of Health and Wellness failing Islanders in crisis
Opposition Green Caucus
February 19, 2020

For Immediate Release

Charlottetown, PE – Official Opposition Shadow Critic for Health and Wellness, Trish Altass, is shocked and disappointed that the Minister of Health and Wellness, James Aylward, is not adequately addressing the critical issue of Mental Health and Addiction. The suggestion, however, does seems to shed light on a government ill-prepared or unable to meet the demands of Islanders in crises or experiencing mental health issues.

“During a public forum organized by Ellen Taylor, Minister Aylward’s suggested that government should create another cabinet position to address Mental Health and Addictions,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Shadow Critic for Health and Wellness. “Ellen created a space for Islanders to share the pain and hopelessness they feel when facing addictions. After listening to people share their personal experiences with addictions, hearing stories of families being torn apart, and about loved ones lost, the Minister could only imagine it may be best to split the health portfolio into two areas. His suggestion to creating another cabinet position for a Minister of Mental Health is useless and tone deaf.”

In an article in The Guardian, the minister and senior bureaucrats continued to show their lack of understanding.  In the article, Dr. Heather Keizer claimed that much of the problem could be attributed to patients missing appointments and their reluctance to participate in group therapy.

“People who spoke in that article are clearly out of touch with those experiencing a crisis in addiction or mental health,” stated Altass. “Victim blaming is not the appropriate or right response to providing the help and support Islanders are dying to receive.”

“The answer is not to increase barriers to care and further bloat government bureaucracy,” explained Altass. “People need help. People need government to come along side. Casting blame and finger pointing by bureaucrats do not help. Islanders need government leaders who can put themselves in someone else’s shoes, to work to understand the issue, and to creatively meet that need in a way that lifts a person up and not further pins them down.”

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Jonathan Hamel
Director of Communications
Office of the Official Opposition

Tel:      (902) 213-0718
Email:  jdhamel@assembly.pe.ca

The Opposition Green Caucus of Prince Edward Island provides a crucial role in the governing of our province. The caucus is made up of Green Party MLAs elected by Islanders.

We strive to offer informed and intelligent debate and proposals that are evidence-based and data-informed. Through respect and integrity, we seek to improve the work and efforts of government on behalf of all Islanders.

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