REGINA -- NDP Leader Ryan Meili announced on Monday that the party would make investments in children’s mental health should it form government this fall.

He said an NDP government would invest $5 million to hire 50 mental health nurses for schools, and another $5 million for mental health supports by hiring child education psychologists, counsellors and speech language pathologists.

Meili said the Saskatchewan Party government has failed to support vulnerable students, and that parents and teachers are worried about how the pandemic is affecting kids’ mental health.

“Young people have been through so much in the past months, and supports were already inadequate,” Meili said in a news release. “It’s way beyond time to invest in students to give them the support they need now and good skills for the future.”

He said the government has cut per-student funding by $300 per student since 2015-16. There are fewer mental health support workers today than there were in 2015-16, he said.

“The mental health of our province’s youth is not a luxury,” he said. “Real support now can ensure that kids aren’t left to suffer alone. It can also ease the burden on our health care system by helping young people avoid mental health and addictions issues later in life.”