Year: 2022 Source: Toronto, ON: Author. (2022). 24 p. SIEC No: 20220961
Under the Canada Health Act, mental health care is only covered by public health insurance when it is provided by physicians and/or in hospitals, Millions of Canadians don’t have a family doctor2 and can wait months, or more, to see a psychiatrist. Family doctors face challenges in caring for patients with mental health concerns, and publicly funded referral options are scarce. As a conservative estimate, Canadians pay over $1 billion every year on private psychological services alone. While some free mental health and substance use health services exist, persistent underfunding to community-based agencies means wait lists are long and services are limited. When we can’t afford to pay, often we don’t get the care we need, which can lead to crisis and to hospital. “The government has promised major investments in mental health, but we have yet to see real action,” says Eaton. “They need to act now to cover mental health care. We all have the right to care that is publicly funded.” The Act for Mental Health campaign is supported by a coalition of Canadian organizations and calls for the promised Canada Mental Health Transfer in the next federal budget as a first step towards true and universal public mental health care.