CREATE A DESIGNATED MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY IN CALGARY
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**UPDATED 9/13/2014- new information has it that more resources are available, unfortunately they are not sufficient and a designated facility is now the primary desire of this petition**
All too often people with mental health concerns fall through the cracks. I have spoken to both mental health patients as well as local mental health professionals. The common problems: not enough beds and services take too long to get.. “Every agency is busy, I don’t need help 90 days from now, I need help now. I needed help yesterday, and I’m still on hold.” -Frank, Global Calgary Aug. 13, 2014
~Suicide is a major public health crisis. More Albertans die by suicide than in fatal car collisions each year. Worldwide, more people die by suicide than by homicide and war combined and for each death, at least 6 other people are directly affected. Research estimates the total
economic burden of each death to be greater than $800,000 in direct and indirect costs.
~In Calgary, the most recent numbers show median wait times for community treatment were between two and three weeks- the highest in the province.
~Alberta spends $650 million per year on mental health treatment.
~Alberta’s suicide rate is the second highest in Canada after Quebec.
~One in five adult Canadians (21.3 percent) will suffer a mental disorder in their lives. This figure translates into 4.5 million people. Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common. Approximately 2.5 million Canadian adults or over 10% of the population 18 and older will have a depressive disorder.
~About 11 per cent of Canadians will meet criteria for major depression at some point in their lives.
~Four of the ten leading causes of disability in developed countries are mental disorders – major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
~Most people with mental illness recover well and are able to lead fulfilling lives in the community – when they receive appropriate ongoing treatment and support. However, only 43% of depressed adults seek care from a health professional.
~Almost 20% of children and youth in Canada or roughly 1.5 million individuals suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. Two thirds of these suffered from more than one disorder and less than 20% receive therapeutic intervention.
~In 1999 there were 449 suicide deaths in Alberta, a 7.7% increase from 1998. Canada-wide, suicide is the leading cause of death for all males between 10 and 49 and the fourth leading cause for women. Four times as many men than women commit suicide however, women attempt suicide 2-3 times as often as men.
~Suicide is the leading cause of death in Alberta among males ages 10 to 49 and the third most common among males ages 10 to 65. More recently the largest group of people who die by suicide are still adult males. In Alberta in 2009, 380 out of 483 suicides were by men between the ages of 20 and 60;
~The number of attempted suicides is estimated to be in the thousands and for every completed suicide there are hundreds of self inflicted injuries.
~Over 400,000 Canadians deliberately harm themselves every year.
~Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading causes of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age.
~First Nations youth commit suicide about five to six times more often than non-Aboriginal youth. The suicide rate for First Nations males is 126 per 100,000 compared to 24 per 100,000 for non-Aboriginal males. For First Nations females, the suicide rate is 35 per 100,000 compared to only 5 per 100,000 for non-Aboriginal females.
~The estimated cost of a suicidal death ranges from $433,000 to $4,131,000 per individual depending on potential years of life lost, income level and effects on survivors. The estimated cost of attempted suicide ranges from $33,000 to $308,000 per individual depending on the hospital services and rehabilitation and the family disruption and support required following the attempt.
~The estimated total burden of $14.4 billion places mental health problems among the costliest of health care concerns in Canada. The total economic cost of mental disorders both medically treated and not is nearly $14 billion annually, at a minimum. There is no telling what non-economic costs for pain and suffering should be added to this total.
~More than 90% of people who take their lives have a diagnosable mental disorder commonly a depressive disorder or substance abuse disorder.
Now that you have the facts, here's what this event is about!
This is an ongoing event until the matter is better addressed, directed at politicians and media outlets to raise awareness that we need more designated mental health beds and/or a designated mental health facility. Calgary is reportedly the only major city in Canada which doesn't have a designated mental health care facility. It could offer cognitive behavior therapy, dialectic behavior therapy, more crisis beds to make up for the lack thereof ( currently only +-20 beds at PLC), day treatment services, psychology/psychiatric services, and more. Our current system isn't working! (http://globalnews.ca/news/1506643/albertans-gripe-about-wait-times-for-mental-health-treatment/)
Too frequently the end results in suicide, revolving door syndrome (in and out of hospital, taxing needed funding and resources), prison and resulting victims of crimes, or homelessness. In addition, the toll it takes on loved ones and relationships, employability, and independence is immense; especially when self-harm, suicide attempts, lethargy, and eating difficulties are present.
The first step is awareness. People cannot forget about this very common disease. Not enough has been or is being done to make the situation better. In fact, the people we have entrusted to help have only made the problem worse. Sources confirm that South Calgary Campus Health Center HAD a designated wing for mental health care, but the government has axed most of the beds there during reallocating funding. This is NOT acceptable. In 2011 a prominent Calgary psychiatrist, Dr. Lloyd Maybaum had been pressured by "a health executive" to keep silent on the state of our mental health care system. Further accusations by Raj Sherman in 2011 accuse payouts were made by senior health officials as "hush money". Fortunately we can't all be silenced and it raises the question "what is our health care services gaining by silencing people"? The need for more services has increased since 2011.
The second step is demanding (no more asking, asking hasn't worked) that more services be made available, and naturally, that more funding be allocated to mental health services in Calgary. If you go out of Calgary to the smaller communities, services can be obtained within a short time - weeks AT MOST, but usually within days. Calgary, a growing city, should be able to meet that demand as well but we're getting treatment in a few weeks MINIMUM. Because of this there is an ever growing wait list for services, and an ever shrinking availability. The goal of this event is to get a mental health facility in Calgary and to increase short stay crisis beds to a reasonable number, possibly 150 beds (to start). This demand is desired within 1 year from today's date of August 22, 2014 for the resources to be in place; 2 to 3 years max to usability unless a facility needs to be constructed which would make within 5 years reasonable and realistic. Also, a response including an action plan initiative from the Alberta Government and/or Calgary City Council within 6 months from today. This event will likely involve a picket/demonstration at a later point because although online events and pressure are good, going in person shows dedication and true concern about the issue and are more likely to ensure results.
The third step is making sure that the services demanded are recognized as being in place and making sure that the budget cuts stop or decrease, meanwhile ensuring intimidation of mental health professionals is avoided. We spent $15 million on a new license plate design that many people don't desire, $470,000 on a 17 meter tall metal ring along 96 Ave. N.E. “Travelling Light” , that was considered "art", yet people were very upset about, and $25 million on the "Peace Bridge", a bridge only a few hundred meters from two other bridges that were just fine.
Why are millions of our taxpaying dollars going to useless OBJECTS when so many LIVES are being impacted due to mental health? Alberta spends $650 million per year on mental health treatment. If adequate care is given this number may decrease, but the funds are obviously available, and could be used for a better purpose.
Please join this event and share it with your friends and communities, even if you're fortunately not affected by mental health.
I look forward to input from political personalities. I also welcome media coverage and interviews, please contact me if you are media.
Please feel free to share your story and concerns about our mental health care. The more people who share, the more that "they" will see there's a problem!
Some of the people and organizations anticipated in joining this cause are:
-Open Arms Patient Advocacy Society
-Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) Calgary
-Calgary Distress Center
-Calgary Police Service
-Calgary Counseling Centre
-Local Mental Health workers
-Local political figures
-Alberta Health Services
-Mental Health Survivors and/or their families and friends
Please sign the petition to show that you would like Alberta Health Services to increase funding for mental health services in Calgary, and designate a psychiatric care facility to assist in getting faster, more adequate, mental health treatment. You can find our facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/794223030639687
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