Access through Innovation:
Maximizing Federal Mental Health presented at Premiers’ Summit
EDMONTON – Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) leaders and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) co-hosted a premiers’ breakfast briefing on mental health care today.
ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN, Regional Vice-President Cathryn Hoy, RN and CEO/CAO Marie Kelly along with CFNU President Linda Silas and Canadian nurses’ union leaders co-hosted the event during the premiers’ summit. The briefing featured two speakers dedicated to improving Canadian mental health care – Michael Kirby, former senator and current founding chair of Partners for Mental Health, and Tazz Norris, a Canadian mental health motivational speaker also known as Big Daddy Tazz.
McKenna notes that statistics show that 20 per cent of Canadian children and youth will develop a mental illness by age 25, and 43 per cent of Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness over the course of their lives. Fully half of family doctors’ time is spent addressing mental health issues or illness, costing the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion a year.
“As nurses working on the front lines with patients and families impacted by mental illness, we know it is crucial that the $5 billion invested by the federal government in targeted funding for mental illness be wisely invested in effective, innovative approaches to improve access to mental health services,” says McKenna.
Kirby said that “the most important, and cost-effective innovation in mental health is to provide psychotherapy to all, starting with children and youth. This would enable young Canadians to overcome mental illness by early adulthood and save governments millions of dollars.”
Kirby, who was Chair of the Senate Committee which authored the 2006, ground-breaking report, “Out of the Shadows: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada,” briefed the premiers on needed innovations to mental health care. ONA and the CFNU will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial governments to improve public health-care services for all Canadians.
ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as almost 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.