The Saskatchewan NDP repeated their call for an inquest into the death of Samwel Uko, and for overall mental health reform on Thursday.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili says that the government has ignored mental health care for too long.
“We have well to many problems when it comes to accessing mental health care in this province,” said Meili. “(Uko’s) story only reveals that and needs to be examined to understand what exactly is going on.”
Meili brought forward figures that show the average wait time to get an inpatient bed at the Regina General Hospital and the Dubé Centre in Saskatoon, is around 13 hours.
Meili says that he hopes Samwel Uko’s death serves as the tipping point for change to the province’s mental health services.
“If it is, that would be a good thing, we’ve had too many opportunities for a tipping point, and this government has missed every one of them,” said Meili. “Now, we know people are looking at this case, let’s take it seriously, let’s use this as an opportunity to make sure, we can’t undo what happened to him, but we can make sure it doesn’t happen to others.”
Provincial Health Minister Jim Reiter says that while there are some mental health strategies in place, Uko’s death shows that more needs to be done.
“Obviously, we need to do more,” said Reiter. “There’s not just one solution to this, obviously, it covers in mental health and we got a lot of work to do.”
Uko went to a Regina Emergency Room twice asking for help, hours before his body was found in Wascana Lake