Mental Health Week 2017: Reforms needed to mental health services to improve well-being and boost the economy

During Mental Health Week, Elizabeth is highlighting the personal, social, and economic benefits that can be gained from strengthening mental health services across the nation and implementing preventive measures.

“Roughly one in five Canadians struggles with a mental health problem, which is a substantial portion of the population,” said Dr. Richard Walsh, Green Party Mental Health Critic and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University. He added, “Over the past year various mental health problems affecting Indigenous communities, college and university students, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP have made headlines in Canadian media. Such problems seriously interfere with well-being at home and school and in the workplace and community.

“A 2016 Conference Board of Canada report showed that depression and anxiety have adverse effects on the economy, resulting in $50 billion in lost productivity. The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommended in 2012 that, at the very least, national mental health standards should be set for all workplaces voluntarily to prevent mental health problems. But how well such standards have been set and put into practice in both the private and public sectors is unknown, as the Trudeau administration has yet to implement the Commission’s recommendation,” Dr. Walsh concluded.

Elizabeth said: “In addition, Canadians are still waiting for the reforms to mental health services that were identified 10 years ago by the Canadian Senate Committee on Mental Health. I urge the Trudeau administration to use the Conference Board report as a stimulus to implement the Senate Committee’s recommended reforms.”