Three mental health organizations in the
UK Canada have called upon the Canadian government to increase funding for mental health in Canada and to reshape the broken mental health care system in the country.
The appeal has been made by Mental Health Commission of Canada, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Canadian Mental Health Association through an open letter addressed to territorial and provincial health ministers in Canada wherein they have noted that in 2016 itself 6.7 million Canadians will experience a mental health problem and because of the overtaxed and underfunded heath care system, the rising demand for care won’t be met.
According to three organizations suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths among young people. While some people suffering from mental health problems will be able to get treatment soon enough, there will be others who won’t get the required care until they need emergency care and worst, some patients could even end up in the justice system.
Citing Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s recent report, the open letter points out that in terms of the investment in mental health, Canada is a back bencher as compared to others like the UK who spend more than double what Canada spends annually on mental health care. Canada spends about seven per cent on mental health of its total health budget.
The three organizations have called for government to initiate targeted mental health funding that is tied to measureable outcomes. The organizations have called for investment initiatives in prevention as well as early intervention, psychotherapies, collaborative community mental health and e-mental health. Without an infusion of new dollars, help for mental illness will remain a privilege, well outside the grasp of some of the most vulnerable populations.
The open letters calls upon the federal government to seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redress five decades of underfunding and eliminate the barriers faced by people living with mental illness.