Exhaustive mental-health strategy needs big cash boost to address crisis
Jun 01, 2012
The nation's first mental health strategy is calling for an overhaul of a system it calls so fractured and underfunded that it's turning prisons and jails into the "asylums of the 21st century" and leading many community service groups to drop waiting lists to avoid giving people false hope that "eventually their turn will come."
The strategy from the Mental Health Commission of Canada calls for spending on mental health to increase from seven to nine per cent of total health spending over 10 years, an increase of $34 billion. According to the commission, the economic impact of mental illness on Canada's economy is "enormous" - at least $50 billion annually.
....The strategy's 109 recommendations include:
. Shifting policies and practices toward a "recovery and well being" model;
. Improving access to treatments, including publicly funded psychotherapy and medications;
. Stopping disclosure in police record checks of instances when police uses provisions of a Mental Health Act to apprehend a person who is in crisis - information that can be disclosed even when no offence has been committed and no charges laid, making it difficult for people to volunteer or get a job, and;
. More "diversion programs," including mental health courts and restorative justice programs to keep people living with mental-health illnesses out of prison.