This year, the CMHA Mental Health Week sub-theme is Sick of waiting: GET LOUD for mental health. We’re sick of waiting a year or more for access to a mental health professional. However, we need more than just access to a doctor and medication if we’re going to prevent illness and promote mental health. We are still waiting for access to counselling, community-based interventions, and social supports that aren’t funded.
WHAT ARE WE SICK OF WAITING FOR?
* Timely and accessible mental health care;
* Respect and esteem;
* Better treatment in society and a stigma-free Canada;
* The protection of psychological health and safety at work;
* Equal funding for physical and mental health care services;
* Better working conditions, job security, and stable housing;
* Better mental health education and supports in school.
WHY ARE WE SICK OF WAITING?
* Canadians are waiting an unbearably long time for mental health care.
* Canadians experience some of the longest wait times for doctors, specialists and in emergency departments compared to peer countries.
* Some people report waiting up to a year or more to see a mental health professional.
* Thousands of Canadian children in need of urgent mental health care will wait a year or longer for services
* The longer we wait for health care, the worse our health becomes; this holds true for mental health problems and illnesses as much as for physical illness
* Approximately four-thousand Canadians die by suicide each year, most of whom had a treatable mental illness at the time of their death.
HERE ARE SOME STATS:
* While many rely on their family doctors for mental health care, fewer than half (43%) of Canadians could get a same- or next-day appointment with their family doctor the last time they needed medical attention. Compare this to other countries like New Zealand (76%) and the Netherlands (77%)
* More than half of Canadians (56%) report waiting longer than 4 weeks to see a health care specialist, compared with the international average of 36%;
* Only 63% of patients with mental health problems or illnesses discharged from the hospital had a follow-up with a doctor compared to 99% of all patients who experienced heart failure.
* 60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labeled.
* Two out of three employees won’t tell their supervisor about their mental health problems or illnesses
WHAT IS CAUSING US TO WAIT?
* Wait times are long because mental health care is drastically under-funded compared to other parts of the health care system. While the federal government has pledged new funding, Canada still lags behind international peers when comparing the portion of health budget dedicated to mental health services
* Mental health problems affect a huge proportion of the population
* In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health problem.
* By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.
* Presently, Canada’s system does not meet the increasing demand for proper mental health care
* Canadians will sometimes wait before getting help because mental health problems are so stigmatized.
* Canadians can wait indefinitely for some mental health care – like counselling – because it is not publicly funded.
THE CMHA MENTAL HEALTH WEEK WEBSITE www.mentalhealthweek.ca