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Policy Briefing: Mental Health Policy Briefing
An estimated 1.6 million Canadians have an unmet need for mental health care. And, in 2019, 7.5 million of us will experience a mental health problem. Depression is the leader in disability costs yet garners a scant third of cancer’s funding. Suicide takes the lives of 4,000 Canadians a year, with another 100,000 left reeling from the devastation. We’ve seen over 10,000 deaths from opioid-related overdose since 2016. Photograph of Pixabay

Investing in mental health is a sound strategy

If a government invests in the mental wellness of its people, it will be well on its way to addressing Canadians’ top priorities.
Once research starts to illuminate new paths of training and treatment, we, as a country, have to be ready to walk down those paths alongside public safety personnel.
This situation is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on the quality of its health-care services; clearly, we can and should do more.
Canadian data that would enable effective evidence-based management of stress and burnout remains sparse.
Those engaged on a public policy level must rethink their approach, clear away the backlog of long-term planning cycles and dedicate resources to building a supportive framework based on a single fundamental question: how will this plan or this expenditure actually help the person in crisis right now?
A robust mental health policy promise could help sway millennial and female voters, polls show. Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice-president at Ipsos, says a robust policy promise on mental health could go a long way in shoring up support among those sub-groups, specifically young adults.
Mental health services in Canada are a classic case study. The same social factors that increase the risk of physical illness also increase the risk of mental illness. Not surprisingly immigrant, refugee and racialized populations are at increased risk of mental health problems.

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