Edmonton, AB (March 21, 2016): The latest report from Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate highlights the needs for systemic reform in how mental health and addictions are treated, says Dr. David Swann. The report was instigated when a 10-month old baby, known as Lily, drowned in a container of home-made alcohol.
“Alberta must reform the way we treat mental health and addictions,” Swann said. “Otherwise, preventable tragedies like Lily’s death will continue to occur. ”
The Advocate’s report recommends creating a safe environment for children exposed to parental addictions. Specifically, greater resources for front-line workers so they can create effective support networks, such as extended family. It also recommends that government ensures these support networks have the knowledge required to intervene when a child’s welfare is in danger.
Swann, co-author of the Alberta Mental Health and Addictions Review released in February, agrees with the Child and Youth Advocate.
“The evidence is clear that community supports, prevention and early intervention have a huge impact on saving lives,” Swann said. “Mental health and addiction issues don’t just impact the sufferers directly, the damage done to families and communities is immense. We simply have to change the way these problems are dealt with.”