Saint John, NB: While Brian Gallant is busy buying your vote with asphalt and bridges Blaine Higgs is investing in the most valuable asset our province has – our children. More than 4500 of them are currently waiting for psychological assessments for learning disabilities and even more are waiting for treatment.
“Over half of government’s psychologist positions remain unfilled, which has resulted in outrageous wait times of up to three years,” says Blaine Higgs, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick. “This is unacceptable. Learning disorders are linked to mental illness including depression, and anxiety and are the leading cause of mental illness hospital admissions. These children need help now.”
Today Mr. Higgs is pledging to tackle the wait list by following key recommendations from the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick with a four-pronged plan to enhance mental health services delivered by the province:
Reduce the wait list for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities in our children and youth by hiring 20 new private sector psychologists. This will be done by co-ordinating with the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick to contract private sector psychologists with expertise in this area.
Work with stakeholders to recruit and retain psychologists to the public system. This includes examining the workload and the wage gap between the private and public sector which have been identified as barriers to recruitment and retention.
Create up to 10 accredited internship positions for post-graduate psychologists within New Brunswick. We currently only have two accredited internship positions in the province.
Explore how we can expand coverage of psychological services through Medicare for children and high-risk groups.
“We need to set our children up for success, and right now we’re falling far short of that goal,” says Higgs. “The status quo is simply unacceptable.”