Statement on Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to recognize Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Nearly six million Canadians are likely to experience a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetime, that is one in five Canadians, and yet the federal and provincial governments have downsized institutional care while not increasing community based services.

My riding is home to British Columbia's primary mental health facility, Riverview Hospital. This nearly 100 year-old facility is home to one of Canada's best arboretums and numerous heritage buildings. Instead of investing in this facility and supporting its development as a mental health sanctuary and residential treatment and diagnostic facility for people with mental illness, the provincial and federal governments have closed many of the buildings and allowed this facility to fall into disrepair.

We know the way forward to combatting the stigma associated with mental illness is providing proper care. We have the ability to make Riverview a centre of excellence in mental health and wellness in this country.

Today, during Mental Illness Awareness Week, I call upon the federal government to commit to mental health, bridge the gap in service for those with severe mental illness and invest in Riverview.