Trudeau promises changes to mental health services in Canada

Trudeau pledged to improve mental health services available to Canadians / Graham Hughes (The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened up recently about the greater need for mental health support across the country. Trudeau spoke out to Canada in light of reports of an apparent mental-illness related attack at a high school which resulted in the death of a 13 year old girl and the stabbing of another girl, 14.

Mental health has been an issue of growing severity each year. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) states that 4,000 Canadians die from suicide each year and that suicide is the leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24.

Trudeau emphasizes the fact that everyone is either personally affected by mental health problems or has a family member or friend who has been affected. Backed by CAMH’s reports that one in five people will suffer from mental illness or addiction at some point in their life, it shows the stark reality of our society’s current state of mental health.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), only an average of seven per cent of all health-related spending per province or territory is put toward mental-health related programs.

However, Trudeau promises that change will come to Canada soon.

“It is long past time Canada stepped up, in terms of mental health, in terms of fighting addiction, in terms of working to heal the ills that aren’t always visible to the naked eye,” he declared in his statement.

Depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness, sometimes considered invisible illnesses, are often overlooked in youth and can be mistaken for generalized feelings of sadness and stress. Because of this, children’s mental health issues can fly under the radar until it is too late. CMHA says that almost every aspect of a person’s life can be affected by depression, including their emotions, physical health, relationships and work. The same can be said about any mental health issue, emphasizing the severity of the problem.

The Prime Minister has not reported on when changes are expected to  occur but said he has had many conversations with Minister of Health Jane Philpott on the topic and the two are in agreement that things in Canada need to change. Trudeau says he believes the federal government should be doing more and should become a driving and supporting factor for provincial change when it comes to health.

Mental Health services on campus are available free of charge for students who need it, including personal counseling and medical services.


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