Mental health should be a priority for government and new depression medications should be available to everyone.
TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2019 /CNW/ - Leading mental health experts taking part in a panel discussion unveiled these and other findings at the annual conference, MentalHealthForAll, of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), held September 23–25 in Toronto, Ontario.
Nearly nine in ten Canadians polled in a national omnibus survey conducted by Nanos Research and commissioned by Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication (CEADM) say that access to new depression medications for people living with depression is important or somewhat important. Eight in ten also said that it is important or somewhat important that new depression medications should be included on public drug plans.
"The survey indicates that a majority of Canadians believe that access to innovative depression medications is important and that access to mental health should be a priority for government decision makers. This denotes an openness among Canadians to engaging with mental health issues." says Mr. Nanos chair of Nanos Research, one of North America's premier research and strategy organizations.
The survey, which is accurate 19 times out of 20, indicates that:
- 90% say mental health should be a high or medium priority for government decision-makers
- 86% say access to new depression medications for people living with depression is important or somewhat important
- 77% say increasing the choice of depression medications is important or somewhat important
- 69% say new depression medications should be included on public drug plans within a year
However, despite such broad support by Canadians, access continues to be a major obstacle for those who need innovative depression medications to treat their illness but which are only available to people who have the luxury of a privately funded drug plan.
Brianne Moore, co-chair of CEADM, a 2019 Champion of Mental Health by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and one of the seven mental health experts on the CEADM panel, used her own experience to underscore this point. Ms. Moore, who has struggled with severe depression and anxiety for most of her life, knows first-hand what it's like to not be able to afford the depression medication she needed to manage her mental illness. "Every time I couldn't afford my medicine, I declined. This isn't right. Many Canadians like me struggle to access medication despite having a job. You shouldn't have to choose between buying food and paying for the medication you need to stay mentally healthy," said Ms. Moore.
The CEADM panelists unpacked the findings of the Nanos survey to underscore how a job lottery — or access to a privately funded drug plan — should not determine who can access the latest depression medications in order to recover from mental illness.
Joining Ms. Moore on the panel, which was facilitated by Patrick Dion, former Vice Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, were Alexandra Apavaloae, senior research analyst with Nanos Research; Michael Landsberg, well-known radio host and founder of #sicknotweak; Colin Andersen, former Ontario deputy minister; and Dr. Javed Alloo, family physician with a special interest in mental health. Fardous Hosseiny, CMHA Interim National CEO, offered opening remarks.
They weighed in on the disparity that currently exists today, where Canadians who rely on their public drug plans to pay for medication can't access the latest depression medications available to people who have private drug plan coverage. Under the public drug plan system as it is operated today, government-sponsored medications only address mood symptoms, which is extremely inadequate as depression is a complex illness with 227 combinations of symptoms.
In light of the fact that 1 in 4 Canadians has depression severe enough to need treatment and that the World Health Organization has declared depression to be a global crisis in the 21st century, the experts also called for Canada's legislators and decision-makers to make equal access for all Canadians a national health care priority.
CEADM September 2019 Omnibus National Survey Results: http://bit.ly/2l0cZq3
These observations are based on an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between August 29th to September 4th, 2019 as part of an omnibus survey. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This study was commissioned by Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication (CEADM) and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.
SOURCE Canadians for Equitable Access to Depression Medication
For further information: Joan Weinman, 613-294-5679, [email protected]