Published on October 3rd, 2016 | from CAMH
Health equity for all Canadians
By Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President & CEO |
Over the coming months, our political leaders will be faced with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to amplify that awareness and to ensure that mental health is a top health care priority for the next decade. They will have the opportunity to move the needle from talk to action.
On October 18th, the federal Minister of Health will meet with her provincial counterparts to discuss renegotiation of a new accord, an agreement that she hopes to have in place before year end. The federal health accord is a long-term agreement between the federal and provincial governments that creates a roadmap for how federal health care funding is spent across the country.
Under the last accord in 2004, Canada’s first ministers signed a 10-year agreement that included a commitment to improve access to five clinical procedures. It included an investment of 5.5 billion dollars for a wait time initiative that spurred provincial investments to meet specific targets and reduce wait times for patients. Mental health care wasn’t on the list.
While there’s been significant progress on mental health in Canada, too many people are not getting the care they need. Funding levels do not match the burden of illness. Wait lists grow. People are in pain. Lives are lost.
As our Ministers of Health meet to create a new agreement, they need to hear from all of us that a failure of this relationship to include practical action for mental health care will speak volumes.
They need to hear that people with mental illness, and those who stand with them, will no longer stand for less than justice.
Plenty of time has been spent on strategy – it’s now time to implement the initiatives that will transform lives.
Follow Catherine on Twitter at @CatherineZahn