Mental health across Canada - Another epidemic, and we aren’t immune to it.
The world, Canada included, is in the midst of a mental health crisis which is threatening individuals all over, damaging the economy, while also endangering the health of many. Worldwide, 450 million people are currently struggling with a mental illness according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Canada, more than 6.7 million citizens are affected by mental illnesses. It is the leading cause of disability across the world.
Mental illness decreases one's ability to function properly and in an effective manner over a certain period of time due to significant levels of distress, variations in mood, thinking, or behaviour, and feelings of sadness, isolation, loneliness, and being disconnected from everyday life (people as well as activities). While mental health issues can affect anyone at any time, no matter their culture, education level or income, they have the tendency to begin during adolescence and early adulthood. “In fact, one in two Canadians have—or have had—a mental illness by the time they reach 40 years of age. Alarming statistics like this only underscore the need for all of us to get involved in one way or another.” (CAMH, 2020)
The biggest issue faced with the services that are provided is accessibility. Many Canadians face major financial barriers, while others aren’t being taken seriously by facilities or the workplace. “Mental health coverage varies widely in Canada, from minimal coverage to thousands of dollars a year.” (DaSilva, 2018) In Calgary, about 20% of residents will experience a difficult event of some sort that will impact their emotional state. If left untreated, this challenge can lead them to serious problems later on.
As for prevention, treatment, and recovery, the following is often brought up as solutions: Promote awareness in every region of Canada that mental health issues are real health issues; Develop support for crisis prevention and intervention; Develop and implement a strategy to reduce stigma, to be associated with all mental health intervention and prevention; Increase media knowledge, as we are living in the era of technology, regarding mental illness and health issues; Develop, implement, and sustain community-based prevention programs (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006).
By sticking together as a nation, we can end the stigma around mental health and work to make healthcare and its multiple facets accessible to all.
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