Mental Health Now! Advancing the Mental Health of Canadians: The Federal Role
This document was released in September of 2016 by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health(CAMINH). It is a lengthy document that describes in great detail a five-point plan focused on funding, structure, innovation, health outcomes and system performance to advance policy discussion for mental health.
Point 1. Ensure sustainable funding for access to mental health services.
The percentage of government funding currently for mental health is 7.2% of total public health spending and CAMINH propose it should be increased to a minimum of 9%. This alliance identifies areas where investment will improve timely access to care, by focusing on mobilizing the capacity of the mental health system and improving integration of systems and programs.
CAMIMH also recommends that the federal government introduce a Mental Healthy Parity Act that affirms that mental health is valued equally to physical health. This strongly aligns with our project to create a mandated mental health and well being education policy.
Point 2. Accelerate the adoption of proven and promising mental health initiatives.
Like we have researched in this project, there are many programs or initiatives already in place but they are unknown, or there is not much in-take of these projects. CAMIMH recommends that the federal government create a 5-year Mental Health Innovation Fund of $100 million dollars to kick-start the spread of innovation.
Point 3. Measure, manage, and monitor mental health system performance.
Mental health is hard to measure because mental health cannot be measured using 1 form of assessment. Mental health is such a broad topic that covers nutrition, well-being, illness, etc. and not all the aspects of mental health can be measured quantitatively. Many assessments of mental health are subjectively based on a persons’ reflection and therefore cannot be accurately measured. CAMIMH understands you cannot manage what you cannot measure. There are no comparable Pan-Canadian mental health indicators to assess performance of mental health programs currently in effect. There has been ground-breaking work by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, but the alliance recommends creating a set of indicators that are comparable within and across the provinces and territories.
Point 4. Establish an expert advisory panel on mental health
By pulling together experts from all walks of life, expert panels could (1) exchange perspectives on needs and opportunities to improve mental health of Canadians, (2) discuss strategies, policies, programs and access to mental health services, (3) present innovative practices and reforms from Canada, (4) review public-private interface, and (5) identify what is needed in mental health research priorities.
Point 5. Invest in social infrastructure
It is recommended that the government consider social infrastructure in a more holistic way. A targeted base income is recommended to reduce the long-term social and financial costs of poverty, directly affected the mental health of Canadians. This paired with affordable housing strategies, would be a huge part of a national mental health strategy.
Below are some mental health statistics to support the notion of the importance of mental health and well being as well as why mental health needs to be looked at using this 5-point system created by the CAMINH. These statistics have been taken directly from the article published by the CAMINH and can be access from the link at the top of the page.
Each point of the 5 -point plan is covered in much specificity, making this document very valuable when looking at the progression of the improvement of mental health and well being. Many groups have become combined together to create the CAMIMH. With the constant push from this alliance, I feel there will be much support in the future for all people whose mental health is declining. My colleagues and I now look to create a similar model in the context of a school setting, to mandate that mental health be integrated into curriculum, and not be brushed off because there is not time for it. Rather, we look to integrate mental health within all curriculum. This document greatly supports the need for mental health supports for the public as a whole, without all people being supported there will be little head way for student supports. Until society realizes the importance of mental health and well being on the lives of all, there will be slow grow in this sector of importance. Our policy will give a broad explanation as to the importance of a mandated education policy on mental health and well-being. Once this step has been reached, funding can be discussed.