Mental Health Commission of Canada Releases Mental Health Strategy

Mental Health Commission of Canada Releases Mental Health Strategy

The Mental Health Commission of Canada recently released their Mental Health Strategy for, Changing Directions, Changing Lives, which “represents the fulfillment of a key element of the mandate that was conferred upon the Mental Health Commission of Canada by the Government of Canada in April 2007.” The Strategy outlines key issues in the mental health system in Canada and provides recommendations to improve the system so that it can meet the needs of people living with mental health problems, and their families.

According to the Commission, in any given year, one in five people in Canada has a mental health problem or illness. Of the 6.7 million people who have a mental health problem, about one million are children and teenagers between nine and 19 years old.

The dollars attached to these figures are also startling:

–       Mental health problems cost at least $50 billion a year, or 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product, not including the costs to the criminal justice system or the child welfare system.

–       In 2011, about $42.3 billion was spent in Canada on treatment, care and support for people with mental health problems.

–       Mental health problems account for about 30 per cent of short and long-term disability claims.

–       If just a small percentage of mental health problems in children could be prevented, the savings would be in the billions.

Will it remains to be seen whether Canada’s government and health-care providers will implement the Commission’s strategies, recognizing the areas in our health-care system that need improvement is an important first step.

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