Pixabay

Mental Health Awareness Week

Promise ourselves to do better with mental health funding

By Kevin J Sabo For the Independent

One in five.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) that is the statistic of the incidence of mental health issues in adults across the country in any given year. In a country of roughly 37 million people, that works out to over 7 million people being treated per year.

Oct. 1 to 7 is mental health awareness week in Canada, presented by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), and its purpose is to start a conversation about the realities of those dealing with a mental illness. It’s a conversation that needs to persist year-round and one that our government leaders at all levels need to hear.

The funding and support for those dealing with mental illness have improved over the years, however where you live depends on the services available, with each province being responsible for its own treatment and therapy services. Living in rural areas also significantly changes what mental health services are made available, with support groups and counselling in these areas being very hard to access if it’s even available.

In fact, according to the CMHA, out of it’s massive $22 billion health care budget, Alberta Health Services only dedicates around seven per cent to mental health services. The CMHA is advocating that the government increase the number nine per cent to expand services.

Despite the shockingly low number dedicated to mental health services, residents of central Alberta do have options. Many benefit plans allow patients to go to a private therapist, even though what is covered is not usually a lot. If private care is not an option, Castor, Coronation and Consort each have a therapist that travels to those communities on a weekly basis, and for more emergent needs, the area has the Centennial Center for Mental Health and Brain Injury a short distance away in Ponoka. As well, there are AHS funded psychiatrists available at times in both Stettler and Hanna.

Seven per cent may not be seeming to be a significant portion of the healthcare budget but AHS is making good use of the funds they have for the services. Nationally, the seven per cent average holds as well for mental health care funding, which is a far cry from the ten per cent plus seen in other jurisdictions around the world.

The conversation needs to happen, and Mental Health Awareness Week is a great reminder to have it. We are fortunate to have the mental health system we have here in Alberta, but we can do better.

If you are feeling emotional distress please call 1-877-303-2642 for mental health help, or call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you are in crisis. Help is there.

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Furever Ours dance coming to Botha

Tickets still left for “Furever Ours” dine and dance

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Most Read