Improve Mental Health Care in Canada

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Dear Mr. Trudeau,

We need to talk.

I am writing on behalf of all of the Canadians who, like me, are fighting for mental wellness. When I saw you come forward to talk about mental illness in your own family it gave me great hope for my own future... finally a Prime Minister who understands and who will take care of us. But that's just not happening.

We need better mental health care NOW.

We can't wait 6 months or longer to see a psychiatrist when we are suicidal, and hospitals can't keep sending us home when we gather the courage to reach out for help while in crisis. We are being told that we are "fine" because there is no room to accommodate us. It seems that Mental Wellness has been declared "unimportant" by our national health care system, even though it is a leading cause of death in Canada.

The majority of people living with a "mental illness" are unemployed, underemployed, or on social assistance. We cannot afford $200-250 per hour to see a Psychologist or Social Worker. These professionals need to be placed in the same category as Psychiatrists and covered by public health care.

The economic burden of not supporting Mental Wellness in Canada is $51 BILLION per year. Most of that cost is reactionary; very little is proactive. Can't we tip the balance and start treating people when they are diagnosed, so that less will need reactionary care? Can't we complete a study to see if the cost involved in covering more mental health care providers for proactive treatment might even cost Canada less in the end?

Canada spends 7 cents out of every public health care dollar on mental health care, compared to the 10-11 cents spent in countries like New Zealand and the UK.

Mr. Trudeau, if you knew you held the magic wand that could help millions of people in your country improve their quality of life, their ability to contribute to society, and boost the economy through increased productivity, wouldn't you wave it?

You do hold the magic wand.

It's time to take Mental Wellness seriously, and give it the same respect that other illnesses receive.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kate Kingston            



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