After five years in the making, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released its plan for a national mental health strategy. Many say the changes being advocated are long overdue …but they come with a price tag. It is estimated to cost $4-billion dollars to implement. Supporters say mental illness is right now costing Canada more than ten times as much by not managing it properly. (See a previous post about this report.)
Canada is the only G8 nation lacking a national mental health strategy and that fact became painfully obvious after a 2006 Senate report. Entitled Out of the Shadows At Last it was a hard look at the way Canadians with mental illness often slip through the cracks in the various systems across the country …health, justice, education et cetera. It called for a more organized approach and a structure to manage it. A little later Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper, whose sanity is often questioned by onlookers, agreed to create the Mental Health Commission of Canada and named the co-author of the Senate report Liberal Senator Michael Kirby as its first Chairman.
Cross Country Check-Up is broadcast weekly on Sunday Afternoons on CBC Radio One. It is a nation-wide phone-in program for a country five and a half time-zones wide, and spanning three oceans.
Host Rex Murphy heared from individuals and families who have been touched by mental illness and their thoughts and experiences as callers and experts discussed the state of metal health care in the dominion, and the new national mental health strategy that has been proposed. A plan is obviously the first step …implementation brings its own set of challenges especially in a system that is somewhat fragmented by different approaches in ten provinces and three territories.
Update: If you don’t understand something, use this handy lexicon.