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CEO Rebecca Shields Speaks to the Current Mental Health and Health Human Resources Crisis

Our CEO Rebecca Shields was invited to share her insights at two House of Commons committee meetings last week, talking about the impact of the pandemic on Canadians’ mental health and health human resource crisis.

She urged the federal and provincial governments to work together to increase funding to community care providers who provide 80% of mental health services in our country.

Here are a few of the many insights Rebecca shared:

  • ‘A powerful example of a federally funded program with an integrated model of care is our Newcomers’ Health and Well-being Program. Clients report more than 85% improvement in depression and anxiety-related symptoms. The first program of its kind in Canada, this program is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.’
  • ‘Our research shows that almost one in five Canadians felt they needed help with their mental health during the pandemic but didn’t receive it because they didn’t know how or where to get it, there was no help available or they couldn’t afford to pay for it.’
  • ‘It is incredibly challenging to attract and retain high-performing staff and create a data-driven culture when funders cap program administrative costs at 10%. This results in high turnover and longer wait times which directly impacts the mental health support Canadians receive.’
  • ‘We applaud the planned federal student mental health funding to support the hiring of mental health counsellors. But mental health should not be silo’d. To integrate youth services with proven health care models, we urge the government to fund this through existing health care providers and not colleges and universities.’
  • ‘We need to implement a national public health awareness campaign to educate Canadians about the dangers of substance use – even moderate use of cannabis and alcohol – which has drastically increased during the pandemic.’
  • ‘We are working to secure our next round of funding to create York Region’s first Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Hub. This hub will serve as a 24/7 resource for people experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis providing an alternative option to hospital emergency departments.’
  • ‘Canadians’ mental health demands are at an all-time high. We need an integrated health care system where community care organizations are funded equally and as efficiently as hospitals or we will continue to exacerbate this mental health crisis.’
  • ‘Mental health is health.’
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