ALBERTA

David Swann, Alberta Liberal Leader, Opens Up About Depression Battle

05/01/2015 03:12 EDT | Updated 05/01/2016 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - Alberta Liberal leader David Swann says he knows personally how difficult it can be to deal with depression.

Swann, who is a medical doctor, says he struggled with depression in 1990 after coming back from the Philippines where he co-ordinated a primary health care project for the University of Calgary.

He announced a $75.5-million investment for mental health and addictions while at a campaign stop in Calgary.

Swann says more than 20 per cent of Albertans have experienced a major mental health issue, with 75 per cent of those before the age of 18.

He says despite public campaigns and discussions about depression, it still remains a stigma for many people.

Swann says the financial costs of mental illness are immense and leave businesses with billions of dollars in lost productivity.

"When I came back from the Philippines, I was so shocked and devastated by the suffering there and the lack of good government and the lack of policies to protect the most vulnerable," said Swann.

"This announcement is to recognize we are grossly under-represented in terms of support for mental illness, for identifying for resources that would get into high risk families, identify high-risk kids and get them the supports they need with a minimum of destruction, and get them into a productive life again."

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