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Why Investing Money in Mental Health Matters

500,000 Canadians, in any given week, are unable to work due to mental illness.

In 2011, the economic cost of mental health problems was measured at $51 billion or 2.8% of Canada’s gross domestic product.

Mental health issues also account for more than $6 billion losses due to absenteeism and presenteeism.

While the cost of mental health and addiction problems on productivity in the workplace alone is about $20 billion annually, 1/3 of these costs could be recovered if working Canadians had access to illness prevention as well as early identification and treatment.

33% of hospitals stays in Canada are due to mental disorders.


Through the work of Canada’s many stakeholders in mental health, governments included,

the stigma and discrimination of mental illness has decreased in recent years

With reduced stigma comes more public conversation and requests for services and supports

which, in Canada, continue to be in short supply.


The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is the national voice for mental health in Canada. CAMIMH advocates for a Canada where all who live with mental health issues receive timely and appropriate care, in parity with physical health conditions.


CAMIMH advocates the following recommendations that will support the federal government to increasing access, spreading innovation and bringing mental health on par with physical health:


Increased Funding = Increased Access

Federal government funding for mental health should increase from 7.2 percent of total public health spending to a minimum of 9 percent.  The federal government’s share of this should be 25 percent.  This means the federal government would contribute an additional $777.5 million annually to the provinces and territories to improve access to a range of mental health programs and services and to get better health outcomes.


Mental Health Parity

The federal government should introduce a Mental Health Parity Act that affirms that mental health is valued equally to physical health. A Mental Health Parity Act will help ensure that communities and workplaces through their policies, programs, and benefits attend equally to mental and physical health.


Mental Health Innovation Fund

The federal government should establish a five-year, $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund.  This targeted and time-limited fund would jump-start the spread of innovation and lead to a systemic and sustainable change to effectively address the mental health needs of Canadians.


Data Gaps

There are data gaps in our understanding of what is being delivered, how effectively and to whom, in both the public and private sectors.  A standardized set of pan-Canadian measures would improve the overall accountability and transparency of mental health care delivery, and help identify areas of high performance, accelerate the adoption of leading practices and highlight where improved oversight is required. More collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) is required to get this needed and comprehensive mental health care picture.

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