Trudeau and Mental Health


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Mental health advocates are urging Justin Trudeau and the federal government to provide more funding for mental health and make it a priority after new reports show that mental illness is affecting roughly 6.7 million Canadians – in other words, around 20% of the population.

 Dr. Catherine Zahn, president of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health told the Toronto Star that this costs the economy around $51 billion each year, and it’s a bigger burden than is caused by cancer or other diseases. However, only 7% of the billions that are invested towards health care in Canada is put toward mental illness.

 Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians as anyone is capable of experiencing it. For instance, according to CAMH anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths and schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population. Furthermore, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for men and women from adolescence to middle age and the rate is four times more to men than among women.

 Zahn says that she wants the health accord to provide funds for research specifically to determine the biological origins of conditions such as addition, depression and autism. Along with the task of improving access to structured psychotherapy – a method where an individual and psychologist work together to identify and change thought and behavior patterns.

 There has been a grand discussion lately about how Physicians and many individuals do not take mental health seriously and many end up overlooking mental illness symptoms merely because of the fact that it is not a physical illness that you can see.

 While speaking to the Toronto Star, Zahn mentioned that “Mental health has been left out of the publicly insured framework not because of evidence but because of historic decisions fueled by misinformation, fear and prejudice and by squabbles over jurisdiction.”

How did this story make you feel?


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Thank you for being an advocate for change! As someone who is currently in crisis suffering from major depression, anxiety and a very recent diagnosis of bipolar ll, I know firsthand (as do so many others) the negative impact that not being able to access mental health supports in a timely manner, as well as not being able to access free/affordable psychotherapy can have on a person who is sick. My most recent (and by far the worst) bout of depression started in May of this year after a very traumatic event. My family doctor referred me to the outpatient mental health department and after my initial intake I had to wait until October before I first saw a psychiatrist. So for almost 5 months I suffered, and continue to suffer as I wait until January to start group CBT through the hospital. I have asked my psychiatrist about starting individual psychotherapy and have basically been told that I would have to pay out of pocket to access this form of treatment which is frustrating because this is not something I can afford yet I know it is exactly what I need to get better. I really hope Justin Trudeau hears the message you are sending and makes mental health and access to treatment for those suffering from mental illness a priority.

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Youth mental health is in so much help. In rural Ontario with a confirmed diagnosis of boarderline personality disorder, we are looking at a 2 year wait list for DBT therapy, and that is with me driving 2 hours one way. There is no inpatient treatment centre for youth with BPD, except in Chicago, I have been told I can apply for OHIP to cover it, but looking at at least a year before we even get an answer

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