TORONTO, March 10, 2017 - CAMH is pleased that the federal government has reached new health care agreements with the majority of Canadian provinces that include investments for mental health care. CAMH has long been advocating for equitable funding for mental health care in Canada by urging federal and provincial Ministers of Health to include mental health in funding agreements, asking provincial governments to accept targeted mental health investments, and encouraging federal and provincial governments to continue negotiations.
“Mental illness – including alcoholism and substance misuse affects 6.7 million Canadians – 20 per cent of our population, yet many Canadians do not have access to the treatment they need. Nearly four thousand Canadians die by suicide each year, and one thousand of them are our children. We must do more to address the health, economic and social justice issue of our time.”
- Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH
While mental illness accounts for about 10 per cent of the burden of disease in Ontario, it receives just 7 per cent of health care dollars. Relative to this burden, mental health care in Ontario is underfunded by about $1.5 billion. When compared to its Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) counterparts, Canada is well behind other countries that spend 10 per cent to 11 per cent of their health care budgets on mental health.
In addition to equitable funding and better co-ordination of the mental health system, CAMH is also raising awareness about the immediate need to fund psychotherapy in Canada and about extensive wait times for counselling and therapy, which can be between six months and a year for children and youth in Ontario.