For over two decades, CAMIMH has been a leading voice in Canada advocating for mental health support at the national level, and investments by the federal government.
In its role as advocate, CAMIMH believes now is the time for the federal government, in strategic collaboration with the provinces and territories, which could be part of a re-negotiated First Ministers’ Health Accord, to significantly accelerate its investments in mental health programs and services.
CAMIMH’s mandate is to ensure that mental health is placed on the national agenda so that persons with lived experience and their families receive timely and appropriate access to care and support. We envision a country where all Canadians enjoy good mental health. Canadians with a lived experience of mental illness, their families and care providers must have access to the care, support and respect to which they are entitled and in parity with other health conditions.
In addition to CAMIMH’s annual awareness campaigns, the Faces of Mental Illness and Champions of Mental Health, CAMIMH regularly engages parliamentarians advocating for parity between mental health and physical health.
Mental Health Support Across Canada
During Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020 we received supportive messages from Canadians from coast to coast to coast indicating their support for mental health parity.
In August 2020 CAMIMH submitted these recommendations to the federal government in its Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Mental Health Action Plan: Better access and system performance for mental health services in Canada
The CAMIMH membership, which comprises of 13 mental health associations, has worked together to produce CAMIMH’s Mental Health Action Plan. This document outlines CAMIMH’s six recommendations to the federal government on how to provide Canadians with better access to the mental health services and supports they need, including the recommendation that a new Mental Health Parity Act be introduced.
That the federal government, working in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, CAMIMH and others, fund
and implement sustainable evidence-based mental health services and supports to respond to the increased demand for mental health care resulting from COVID-19.
That the federal government enshrine national standards for access to mental health services through an amended Canada
Health Act or the introduction of a new Mental Health Parity Act.
That the federal government increase its cash contribution to the provinces and territories by a minimum of $277.5 million a year
to improve timely access to mental health services.
That the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) have adequate resources to work collaboratively with the provinces and
territories, and other stakeholders, to develop an up-to-date national public and private health expenditure series in mental health.
That the federal government implement a national universal pharmacare program while maintaining access to mental
health and psychological treatments via employer provided supplementary health benefit programs.
That the federal government provide long-term funding to the Canadian Institutes
of Health Research (CIHR) to ensure mental health research funding across its Institutes and its four
pillars that is proportionate to mental health’s burden of disease.
Mental Health Now!
In 2016, CAMIMH released Mental Health Now!, a seminal document was a powerful call to action for all governments in lead up to the 2017 bi-lateral health accords that were signed by the federal, and provincial and territorial governments, and contained a five-point action plan.
CAMIMH’s recommendations are based on the following five pillars, which represent a bold agenda for mental health policy in Canada:
- Ensure sustainable funding for access to mental health services by increasing the federal share of mental health spending to 25 percent of the total, which would result in $777.5 million more in additional annual federal direct funding support for mental health services.
- Accelerate the adoption of proven and promising mental health innovations with a five-year $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund.
- Measure, manage and monitor the mental health system’s performance by establishing pan-Canadian mental health indicators.
- Establish an expert advisory panel on mental health.
- Invest in social infrastructure.