Canada’s health-care system is still a long way from measuring and treating mental illness with the rigour it brings to cancer or heart disease, but a new national report on the subject is a step in the right direction, experts say.
This pioneering project reveals the current landscape of the mental health of Canadians and will serve to promote discussion of how to improve mental health across the country. Working in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction under the leadership of Dr. Elliot Goldner, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the objective of this MHCC-led project is to accurately show the state of mental health in Canada.
“Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada will paint a more complete picture of mental health in this country. More important, these indicators will tell us how well – or poorly – the health system is responding to Canadians’ mental health needs. And what, collectively, we need to do about it,” said Dr. David Goldbloom, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
“This is the most comprehensive set of indicators for mental illness and is a first for Canada,” said Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO. “Having a clear understanding of both the problems and opportunities, and putting this knowledge to work in our communities, is critical to making inroads in mental health in Canada.”
Today’s release of the first 13 indicators focus on subjects outlined in MHCC’s Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Each indicator is followed by the colour of its present status: green (good performance) yellow (Some concerns, red (significant concerns):
- Children and Youth examines Anxiety/Mood Disorders (yellow); Intentional Self-Harm among College Students (red) and School-based Mental Health Promotion (yellow).
- Seniors measures Anxiety and/or Mood Disorders (yellow)
- Economic Prosperity indicators includes Stress at Work (yellow) and Mental Illness-Related Disability Claims (yellow)
- Recovery examines Self-Rated Mental Health in people with common mental health conditions (red)
- Caregiving measures Stress Associated with Family Caregiving (red)
- Diversity includes Sense of Belonging Among Immigrants (green) and Experienced Discrimination (yellow)
- Suicide examines Suicide Rates in the General Population (red)
- Access and Treatment includes Unmet Need for Mental Health Care Among People with Mental Disorders (yellow) and Mental Illness Hospital Re-Admissions within 30 days (yellow)
“This project is a major step forward in understanding mental health and mental illness in Canada,” said David O’Toole, President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
“Working together is important because mental illness touches all parts of the health system, and all parts of society. No one organization can tackle this complex issue alone. Our continued collaboration with the Mental Health Commission and others will improve available information and fill information gaps, a priority in the Mental Health Strategy for Canada,”said O’Toole.