During Mental Illness Awareness Week, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) stresses the need for significant investments in our mental health system. We need to meet the needs and 2022 realities of people with lived and living experiences of a mental health problem and mental illness.
In 2012, the MHCC’s mental health strategy for Canada set a spending target from 7 to 9 percent of all healthcare funding be directed to mental health. This target is modest for 2022. 10 years on and a global pandemic later, that percentage point needs to be adjusted. We need to listen to the work of the World Health Organization and OECD who urge governments of high-income countries like Canada, to increase mental health care spending. And we need to listen to people living with a mental illness.
Recent polling found that 1 in 3 people living in Canada reported moderate to severe mental health symptoms during the pandemic. Financial concerns, pandemic stress, isolation, and struggles with our health-care system are leading concerns among people living with a mental illness.
Age, gender, 2SLGBTQ+, income, and employment status were the strongest predictors of mental health and substance use concerns. 60 per cent of 2SLGBTQ+ youth report moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms and about 40 per cent report symptoms of depression. Although connecting with statistics can be difficult, it is important that we remember the people behind the numbers.
We must also care for those care for us. The MHCC recently shared a report on the moral distress and mental health concerns of health-care workers. Alarmingly, we learned that only 60 per cent of health-care workers were confident in the care they provided their patients. While a health-care system under strain is not news to anyone — we need to be mindful of the impacts this will have on access and the quality of services for people seeking care for a mental illness.
Financial concerns and inflation are top of mind for many who live across Canada. Our own polling reinforces finances to be one of the top stressors for people living with a mental illness. The evidence is clear mental health needs have increased and funding needs to catch up. Let’s move from awareness to action this Mental Illness Awareness Week and boost investments to our mental health system.
President and CEO
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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