Expand Mental Healthcare Access for Students

Expand Mental Healthcare Access for Students

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Rideau Students' Union started this petition to Michael Tibollo (Associate Minister of Mental Health) and

This petition has been drafted by the Rideau Students' Union and the Ontario Student Trustees Association in cooperation with the Toronto Youth Cabinet.

Petition to the Government of Ontario:

WHEREAS

  • In 2016, 34% of the Ontario high school student body have reported some form of mental illness;
  • Suicide is the second-highest cause of death among individuals aged 15-34 in Canada with 11 suicides a day.
  • The provision of adequate mental healthcare is estimated to save the taxpayers $51 billion annually by reducing unemployment, crime and required treatment for substance-abuse-related medical conditions and the cost of universal mental health care coverage is estimated to be just 90 cents per Canadian;
  • Canadians spend on average $6.3 billion in out-of-pocket uninsured expenses on mental healthcare that is not covered under the current healthcare policy;
  • 81.7% of Ontario high school students believe that mental healthcare services would be beneficial to their worldly life and 45.8% of Ontario high school students have reported that they have needed mental healthcare but were unable to access it;
  • 78.7% of Ontario high school students claim high costs were a strong motivating factor in preventing them from accessing mental healthcare, 65.6% of Ontario high school students claim societal pressure and stigma were a strong motivating factor in preventing them from accessing mental healthcare, and 77% of Ontario high school students claim possible interference with career or academic pursuits were a strong motivating factor in preventing them from accessing mental healthcare;
  • Several studies have shown and have been conferred upon by a majority of students that show the inadequate ability of teachers, peace officers and medical professionals to recognize and effectively deal with mental healthcare;
  • The provision of mental healthcare is expected to save the government $51 billion by reducing unemployment, crime and the need for treating those affected by substance abuse;
  • Unemployment rates are as much as 70% to 90% for those with severe mental illnesses;
  • The annual cost of substance abuse in Canada in 2014 was $38.4 billion;

We, the undersigned, students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders of the issue of mental health, residents of the Province of Ontario, call upon the Government of Ontario to:

Make all psychotherapy, mental health medications, psychosocial treatments and brain stimulation therapies accessible to all citizens under the age of 22 free of charge with ease of access by 2023.

Add a section to the Ontario high school or middle school physical education curriculum focusing specifically on mental health, how to identify it and how to deal with it, developed in collaboration with mental healthcare professionals, students and teachers.

Develop and organize a curriculum for the training of peace officers, teachers, healthcare professionals and others in cooperation with mental health experts to teach how to identify mental illness or those at risk of mental illness and to help students and citizens to deal with barriers to mental wellness, and mandate the delivery of this curriculum to all peace officers and teachers and enforce this mandate by Summer of 2022.

Mandate annual or bi-annual mental health checkups performed by mental healthcare professionals (in the form of psychotherapy sessions) for all high school students to prevent stigma around accessing mental healthcare, making it a norm for citizen lifestyle, and to inform students about the process of mental healthcare and the tools at their disposal to help them deal with mental health issues.

Mandate professional mental healthcare workers take cultural sensitivity training that can include educational opportunities for mental health care workers to engage in conversations with volunteers from diverse backgrounds. 

Legally prohibit the ability of any potential employer, university or other organization to discriminate against an individual for accessing mental healthcare service.

Expand on financial investment in training mental healthcare professionals to help service mental healthcare needs.

 

Sources:

Addressing Stigma. CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/addressing-stigma

Chisholm, D., Johansson, K. A., Raykar, N., Megiddo, I., Nigam, A., Strand, K. B., … Verguet, S. (2016). Universal Health Coverage for Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders: An Extended Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 4): Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders, 237–251. https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0426-7_ch13

Fast Facts about Mental Illness. CMHA National. (2019, June 26). https://cmha.ca/fast-facts-about-mental-illness

Jan, F., Nguyen, A., Zahraei, P., ElSahhar, M., Dunbar, G. (2021). Mental Healthcare in Ontario: A Review of Students' Needs Regarding Mental Wellness.
https://www.rideaustudentsunion.ca/uploads/1/2/0/2/120284677/mental_healthcare_in_ontario_-_a_review_of_students_needs_regarding_mental_wellness.pdf

Knaak, S., Mantler, E., & Szeto, A. (2017). Mental illness-related stigma in healthcare. Healthcare Management Forum, 30(2), 111–116. https://doi.org/10.1177/0840470416679413

Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics. CAMH. https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics

Suicide in Canada: Key statistics. (2020, March 4). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/suicide-canada-key-statistics-infographic.html

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!