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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 22, 2024
Letter: Niagara MPs urge region to declare mental health emergency

The following letter from Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli and Niagara West MP Dean Allison was sent to Niagara regional council and chair Jim Bradley.

We would like to thank you and council for your outstanding efforts and leadership in navigating Niagara through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is apparent, however, that the pandemic has negatively impacted each and every resident across the region in one way or another. Illness, fatigued front-line workers, unprecedented job losses and skyrocketing inflation have all taken a tremendous toll.

While all levels of government and its representatives are aware of the issues facing our communities and have taken measures to begin to help those in distress, we believe that it is crucial to begin to address the surge in homelessness, overdoses, addiction and suicides by supporting the request to declare a mental health state of emergency in all 12 municipalities within Niagara.

Our offices have remained open over the past 19 months and we have listened to desperate individuals who have no place to live, have been isolated from their families and have no idea what the future holds for them.

There is an overwhelming need right now for the coping tools and supports that will see people through to the other side of this pandemic.

Mental health IS health, and yet one in five people across the country suffer from symptoms of depression and anxiety. We know that these cases spill over into beyond-capacity emergency rooms and urgent care centres. Many times, people are unable to receive the much needed care they deserve.

Parliament resumes at the end of November and this declaration of a mental health state of emergency in Niagara would be a helpful tool for us to convey the urgency and to advocate for funding increases, more support and decreased waiting lists for Niagara.

We will also continue to call on the government to move forward with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline that was brought forward last year by one of our colleagues and unanimously supported.

We would like to thank Steven Soos for his tireless work and advocacy on this issue and we respectfully request that you support West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma’s upcoming motion when regional council meets.

Tony Baldinelli

Dean Allison

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