01/17/2017 13:08 EST | Updated 01/18/2018 00:12 EST

Unions, Opposition says mental health, home care funding needed in Saskatchewan

REGINA — A union for health-care workers in Saskatchewan says an additional $350 million in federal funding to improve home care and mental- health services is desperately needed.

But the Service Employees International Union-West says it won't fix chronic understaffing in the health sector.

Union president Barbara Cape says she hopes the Saskatchewan government will put the money to appropriate use on the front lines.

The Saskatchewan NDP says the money specifically targeted for home care and mental health services is very important.

New Democrat health critic Danielle Chartier says she likes that the federal funding requires a detailed plan on how the money will be spent.

Chartier says the Saskatchewan government announced a mental- health and addictions plan three years ago, but there's been very little action.

"Every day I hear from people who struggle getting the mental-health supports and services that they need. I talk to families looking for supports for their loved ones, both in their home and trying to get them into long-term care, as well," Chartier said Tuesday.

"We don't have the proper mental-health supports in the North to support people. We have a huge youth suicide crisis in the North."