Public and mental health

When people are unwell, communities are unwell. My life’s work has been focused on supporting communities, families, children and youth attain the best mental health outcomes and achieving potential—both personally and for their community. To do this we must improve social determinants for health and wellbeing, including education, jobs, health care access, inclusive neighbourhoods and community supports.

It cannot be understated that children are our future. If we do not work upstream to help build resiliency in our children, we will ultimately pay the price later through high school truancy, graduation decline, poor mental health, addictions and more.

I am in the business of making sure people are taken care of.

I have seen first-hand how community-based organizations can help to curb social issues, however, it is imperative that we take a data-driven approach to social services. Are we getting the outcomes we want from our social organizations?

Better health outcomes equal better use of tax dollars.

 

If elected, I will work with the next council to:

 

Improve outcomes tracking for social organizations

As a CEO in social work, I’ve been held to the same standard as other industries delivering business plans and I’ve been required to deliver the same data-driven, outcomes-based results. I believe this approach needs to be applied more diligently across all of our social organizations.

If we seek to put Calgary on the world stage, we cannot brush our social issues under the rug by throwing money at them—we need results.

For example, millions are been spent annually on the prevention of domestic violence, yet Calgary’s rates of domestic violence are consistently increasing year over year. What’s not working? We must take a data-driven approach to all social issues and organizations.

 

Work to protect and improve harm reduction measures

The opioid crisis has claimed 205 Calgarians this year (data 20 May 2021) and 1,648 Calgarians in the past five years. Don’t be fooled – it is happening in every quadrant, in every neighbourhood, in every socio-economic demographic in our city. We must work to protect lives now and take action upstream to remedy the root causes.

Instead of politicizing harm reduction programs, we must look at them through a data-driven lens. From an economic perspective, harm reduction programs reduce formal systems usage which is very expensive.

For example, a visit to Calgary’s Safeworks costs $30-60, whereas an emergency room visit starts at $1,100 as soon as a patient comes in the door. When we compare those costs in addition to the burden of increased medical responses in the community, longer wait times for ambulance, longer wait times for emergency care in hospital—all pressures further compounded by COVID-19—it is financially imprudent to consider discontinuing or reducing our safe consumption site service.

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