Published on January 13th, 2017 | from CAMH

Canada’s role in looking after our mental health

By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program


Dr. Donna Ferguson

It’s officially 2017, and this year, we’re celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. What better time to reflect on all Canada has achieved and look ahead to the work we still have left to do – specifically in the field of mental health care.

Adequate funding is absolutely necessary to help the one in five Canadians impacted by mental illness. In Ontario, many who are able to afford access to services pay for it privately. Unfortunately, this means that those who can’t are stuck on wait lists, or fall through the cracks and may not receive help at all.

We have to do better.

Over the past six months, CAMH has been advocating to the federal and provincial governments for equitable and targeted funding for mental health care through the Health Accord. In Ontario alone, mental illness accounts for 10 per cent of the burden of diseases, but receives just 7 per cent of health care dollars leaving a gap of $1.5 billion.

Targeted funding for mental health will encourage better outcomes for patients.

Support from the Ontario Psychological Association

The Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) is the home of psychology in Ontario, with a membership made up of clinicians, academics, researchers and students. Recently, the OPA has helped lead the way in promoting psychology and mental health issues in this province. And as part of this role they have been meeting and collaborating with MPs and MPPs and looking for support – particularly financial support – to improve access to care.

Funding, after all, is of the utmost importance when OHIP-covered treatments come with such long waitlists. We are all rallying together to do our part to ensure all who need care have access to it.

The road ahead

In 150 years, we have come a long way as a country and we should be proud to celebrate our achievements as a society. But we need to do more, particularly in the way of preventing and treating mental illness. And there are many ways we can do this, but it takes time and resources to do it in an impactful way.

We have to start now for the sake of this generation and generations to come.

Click here to read Dr. Ferguson’s previous blog post on the importance of psychology to mental health and the problematic gap in access to care.

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