Why funding mental health care is the right thing to do
We are proud that our universal healthcare system looks at our need for care, and not our ability to pay. But when we stop and think about it, our healthcare isn’t universal at all, especially when it comes to mental health and substance use health. This care should be free and available to all. Yet millions of Canadians are struggling and only some of us will get the care we need.
It’s a crisis that we can’t ignore.
- One third of people in Canada will experience a mental illness or substance use disorder during their lifetime.
- Yet one third of those people can’t get the care they need. As many as three in four children who need care can’t get specialized treatment.
- That’s because the care that people need isn’t available, or it isn’t covered by our public health insurance.
- The pandemic only made things worse, with 37% of Canadians saying their mental health had deteriorated
Only some of us will get the care we need.
Canada thinks of itself as a just and caring country, but we have a blind spot when it comes to mental health and substance use health. Although there is mental health care here, only some of us will get it.
Under the Canada Health Act, only services considered ‘medically necessary’ are covered by our public health insurance. That means mental health care and substance use health services delivered outside of hospitals and by physicians are, for the most part, not covered.
Funding this care would reduce the suffering of millions of Canadians and improve quality of life for all of us.
Mental health is a universal right, but Canada is not upholding it. We aren’t meeting our international obligations. And more than that, we aren’t meeting our obligations to ourselves. Or to one another.