In Ontario we face many issues just like any other Province or State. Nonetheless one of our biggest issues is mental health. According to the statistics:
In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.
About 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.
2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection.
Every day, 500,000 Canadians miss work due to a form of mental illness.
Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research.
In real life (as oppose to my fake life I guess) I work as a psychotherapist in Toronto, ON in Forensics. I have my own private practice but under supervision by two great psychologists and mentors. Nonetheless part of my practice involves psychotherapy which means talking to individuals about their problems. Since psychologists and psychotherapists are not covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) everyone who needs to see us must pay either out of pocket or through private insurance. Nonetheless, many private insurance companies will only pay a small tiny portion for these services. However for all the rest who can't afford to pay or don't have private insurance, they are left at a disadvantage. While OHIP does cover for an individual to see a psychiatrist or GP psychotherapist for therapy, nonetheless the wait time is about 1-2 years before you get to speak to anyone. A 1-2 year wait in any case is a 1-2 years too late for any one needing mental help.
The Government of Ontario identified a few years back that mental health in Ontario is seriously under funded. Psychologist have been fighting for years to get on the OHIP "roaster" so that people with mental health issues could see them free of charge, yet that has prove to no avail. They are currently fighting to get prescription privileges in order to prescribe mediation to those who need it and can't wait 1-2 years to see a doctor to get it. The inability for many to access free or affordable mental healthcare is an issue that should not exist. Just as much as I can access normal healthcare for a broken leg, I should be able to access mental healthcare when my mind is "broken" and is in need of repair. Mental illnesses are still health issues that need attention, promptly.
Part of the issue is that many people don't understand mental health. They think that people with mental health are crazy and only know what Hollywood puts out. Truth is mental health illness is no different then those with cancer, broken legs, or hair loss. People with mental illness are still people who are just sick in a different part of their body and need help. The majority are no more dangerous then the banker who just lost one million of his investors dollars and needs to find a way to replace that...no matter what it takes. So those with mental illness are not to be feared, but to be respected and loved in the same manner that someone who breaks their legs is respected, loved and cared after by their family.
The reason why I do my job is not because it pays the bills, but because it can change lives when someone is staring at death as a way out. In my career I have saved a handful of patients who have been suicidal and needed to be sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. That is one of the toughest calls I have had to make, but I wouldn't have it or risk it any other way. Nonetheless those patients were lucky that they had access to a psychotherapist in general who made that call and saved their life. Now, what happens to those who don't have that access and are slowly dying in their despair, pain, sorrow and see no way out but suicide. Or what about those where their mental illness just gets worse and worse where it eventually acts like gangrene and takes over their whole mind where there is nothing left of them? In our life time we will know someone who has or is suffering from mental illness and who has or has not been able to receive mental help for their issues.
Bell Lets Talk campaign is donating 5 cents for everyone who tweets or re-post on facebook. Even if you are not from Ontario I urge to do it. Because one day someone you care about will need some sort of mental help, and funding will be what stands between them getting help or them sinking in deeper in their issues. No one should have to deal with a mental health issue alone and certain not because they lack the funds to seek help. So please click on the link below and re-tweet. That somebody might be you one day and you will be thankful that someone cared enough and that funding existed to help you!
ITS FREE! All you need to do is repost to facebook or care enough to re-tweet!
Click to learn how to help out in Bell Lets Talk Campaign!!
Dayana RomeroBA, M.A.C.P., Dip. Addict, M.Sc. Forensic (c)