Children and Mental Health

Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann calls for better access to mental health care for children

David Swann made this statement in support of Children’s Mental Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s #GETLOUD campaign for Mental Health Week:

“Today is Children’s Mental Health day and given what’s happening in Northern Alberta, I can’t think of a better time to highlight the unique Mental Health needs of children. We’ve all seen images and video of families fleeing their homes as well as images of the devastation caused by the fire. The horrors of this disaster will live with the children of Fort McMurray for the rest of their lives.

“It is easy to forget that children are just as susceptible to mental illness and addiction as adults because they may be resilient and adept at changing with circumstance. However, most mental illness and addictions have their origins in childhood and adolescence. Emotional, behavioral and learning problems, as well as adverse experiences such as the current disaster, when inadequately unaddressed, have profound impacts on the rest of the child’s life and have significant effects on wider society.

“In April the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) released a report that shows other chilling consequences of failing to address mental health and addiction in Albertan youth, particularly in First Nations communities. The urgent importance of the OCYA investigation was further highlighted as an epidemic of youth suicides swept the country. Twelve recommendations, including addressing poverty and discrimination for were made by the OCYA, and I look forward to seeing new cross-ministry approaches to them in the months ahead.

“The key for children’s mental wellness, as is so often the case, is early access to care. By being able to confront trauma and illness early and effectively, we prevent not only prolonged suffering of the child and family but also the potential societal impacts later in life. 

“Right now our system does not excel at providing children with the needed access to comprehensive care. Mental health teams sufficiently trained to help with children and families including child psychiatrists and psychologists must be available, and affordable.

“Ultimately, if we are to address mental health in a lasting way, we must begin with our children. When we pay attention to their mental health early in life, we provide the basis for fulfilling, successful lives and supportive families. So let’s #GETLOUD today about the priority of children’s mental health and build a healthy society for their children tomorrow.”


Holocaust Remembrance Day

Statement from Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

“Although I, like all Albertans, am focused on the sad events unfolding in Fort McMurray, I wish to remember, also, that today is Yom Ha-Shoah, the Day of the Holocaust.

“On this day we remember the evil committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis that saw six million Jews brutally murdered solely because of their faith. It is a day for us to reflect and mourn on a horrific and shameful chapter in human history.

“As the Holocaust fades into the past, we risk forgetting the consequences of not being vigilant against hatred in all its forms. As we remember the genocide, we must also remain watchful of systemic violence, persecution, and racism that sadly still threaten our society today.

“Despite the evil happening all around them, there were many during the Holocaust who stood up to persecution and acted to save the lives of their neighbours. We must be mindful of their example, and ready to stand up to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust never happen again.”


Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann speaks out on the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction

Edmonton, AB (May 3, 2016):

Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann made this statement on the stigma surrounding mental illness and addictions:

“Perhaps the greatest obstacle to effective mental health treatment today is the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. Stigma, and the shame it causes, greatly limits our ability to discuss and treat the mental health issues affecting our society.

“Mental illness and addictions can be an intensely frightening experience. The fear of being dismissed, labelled, or shunned by society discourages those experiencing mental illness or addiction from finding proper care. Left to struggle in isolation and shame, they suffer deeply and in secret – often until it is too late. 

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