Mental health has been one of the most talked about issues of the current election, and it's understandable. Over the last few years, the stigma around mental health issues has been receding, and people have been able to share more openly, which has been a good thing. The problem is that the healthcare system is showing the strain.
Consider this: funding to treat addiction and mental health accounts for just 6.5 per cent of the overall healthcare budget in Ontario. In "real numbers" that's $3.5 billion out of the total $54 billion healthcare budget. Ideally, the Canadian Mental Health Association would like to see 10 per cent of the healthcare budget go to mental health. It's a campaign called "Erase the Difference", and it supposes that we should treat mental illness like we treat the flu.
That's good thinking because one in five Canadians has to deal with a mental health issue, and in Ontario, the average wait time for a counseling is five months. It's no wonder then that all the political parties are promising more money, and more resources for mental health services. But wait, are the parties just responding to the political demand? Do they really know what services like the CMHA need to deal with a growing problem?
These are a couple of questions we put to Martin Bauman in this week's podcast. Bauman is a communications specialist with the Waterloo-Wellington office of the CMHA, and he joins us to talk about the economics of mental illness, how poverty and housing issues come into play, whether or not mental health is looked at too often in it’s own silo, and if it should be integrated into the bigger healthcare picture.
So let's talk abut what it's going to take to get mentally healthy in this week's Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about the CMHA, and the entire array of services and programs they offer by visiting their website here. If you immediate need help, you can also call the CMHA help line at 1-866-531-2600.
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