Around 1.6 million Canadians feel they are not having their mental health care needs met.
That’s according to a survey and report released by the Canadian Mental Health Association who say around 53 per cent of Canadians find anxiety and depression are a national epidemic.
Executive Director for CMHA Alberta David Grauwiler says this number is consistent with the province and the RMWB.
He tells Mix News whereas mental health spending in developed countries sits between 10 to 13 per cent of total health spending – that rate is much lower here.
“Spending on mental health sits right around the 7 per cent mark. So, we’re significantly less funding compared to other developed countries in Alberta and that is a percentage that’s fairly consistent across Canada.”
As a result, CMHA is calling on the Federal government for a better balance between mental and physical health.
CMHA is proposing the Feds introduce the “Mental Health Parity Act” to ensure mental health care is treated to the same degree as physical treatments.
Grauwiler notes in Alberta alone, around 500 people take their own lives on a yearly basis.
“Typically, it’s the second or third highest rate per capita in Canada. Other repercussions would be increased homelessness, extreme poverty, complicated by untreated recovery regarding their mental illness. Society pays for trying to ignore mental health.”
Part of the act would see services from psychologists and other mental health professionals folded into primary care and publicly funded.
It would also seek to allocate more funding to mental health research and help deepen the understanding of mental illness.