New Mental Health Strategy a Key Step in Transforming Health System
OTTAWA, May 8, 2012
OTTAWA, May 8, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
applauds the release of a new mental health strategy for Canada and
urges all governments to unite and commit to real action to help
Canadians requiring mental health support and services.
"Mental health services are a microcosm of our entire health care system
and too often it is the patient that suffers because of jurisdictional
battles between governments," said CMA President Dr. John Haggie.
"Canada's doctors see the result of this every day and we welcome this
new strategy, which seeks to put patients ahead of petty politics."
Last year, during the CMA's National Dialogue on Health Care
Transformation (www.healthcaretransformation.ca), many Canadians spoke about the desperate need for better access to
mental health services. One participant in the dialogue likened the
gaps in mental health services to "the canary in the coal mine" for
gauging the overall effectiveness of our health care system.
"It's unacceptable that patients and their families have been left to
fend for themselves when it comes to accessing needed mental health
services and supports," said Dr. Haggie. "That is outdated thinking and
we must move now to rebuild our lagging system so that it truly serves
The CMA calls on governments to study the strategy and develop a
coordinated action plan based on its recommendations. It says that
particular attention should be paid to the mental health needs of
children and of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations.
The CMA was pleased to see the strategy call for the federal government
to better address the mental health needs of our veterans. As Sen.
Roméo Dallaire, a retired lieutenant general, said in a recent
interview, "injuries between the ears" are just as harmful and require
the same urgency as physical injuries.
This report sets high-level objectives. Federal, provincial and
territorial governments will need to work together to develop a
coordinated plan if these recommendations are to be translated into
action. Canada's physicians are willing to partner with governments to
ensure this happens.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian
physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the
physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with
the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health
care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing
over 77,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and
territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.