Canadians overwhelmingly support more funding for mental health, mental illness and addiction
OTTAWA, June 3, 2015 /CNW/ - On the heels of the Canadian Mental Health Association's (CMHA) successful 64th annual Mental Health Week campaign – where Canadians were encouraged to take action to reduce discrimination and stigma and demand more and better access to mental health programs and services from their elected representatives – CMHA is releasing key results from a Nanos Research poll on mental health funding.
"In most provinces, funding has not kept pace with the demand for services," says Peter Coleridge, National CEO of CMHA. "In some provinces, there have actually been reductions in funding."
According to the poll, commissioned by CMHA, Canadians strongly believe that mental health must be a funding priority for governments. The survey found that
- 94% of Canadians said that mental health conditions should receive the same or higher funding priority compared to physical health conditions and
- 90% of respondents support the creation of a dedicated mental health transition fund
"Canadians want better access to high quality mental health services and this is not surprising," says Coleridge. "According to a 2012 Statistics Canada health survey, one in six Canadians aged 15 or older reported having had a need for mental health care."
"While it's important to reduce discrimination and the stigma around mental illness, it is equally important to continue to call on governments to ensure appropriate levels of funding for mental health services so that the help is there when people need it," adds Coleridge.
CMHA's position is consistent with three key recommendations in the Mental Health Strategy for Canada (2012), which calls on all governments in Canada to
- increase their proportion of health spending that is devoted to mental health from 7% to 9% over 10 years;
- increase the proportion of social spending that is devoted to mental health by 2 percentage points from current levels; and
- identify current mental health spending that should be reallocated to improve efficiency and achieve better mental health outcomes.
As the federal Standing Committee on Health undertakes a new study on mental health in Canada, CMHA strongly believes that we do not need more studies to provide a direction for mental health transformation in Canada. CMHA also looks forward to learning more about the Mental Health Commission of Canada's new mandate and proposed Mental Health Action Plan.
"Canada has an evidence-based mental health strategy and all provinces have mental health and addiction strategies or plans. This has led to progress in transforming programs and services across Canada as health and social service providers better align efforts to keep people healthy and collaborate more effectively at various points of care within limited resources. However, many Canadians continue to experience barriers to receiving timely, quality mental health services. The transformation of mental health services requires governments at all levels to fund the implementation of various strategies and plans," says Coleridge.
In line with recommendations first made in a 2007 Senate report to establish a mental health transition fund for Canada, CMHA is reminding elected representatives and public officials across the country about the need for increased investments in mental health, mental illness and addiction. CMHA, an active member of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), will continue to work with all community partners and Canadians to further these discussions.
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About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Founded in 1918, The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. As the nationwide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community resources they need to build resilience and recover from mental illness and addiction.
SOURCE Canadian Mental Health Association
For further information: Carolyn Lovas, Senior Communications and Media Advisor, CMHA National, [email protected], (416) 979-7948