A recent survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association outlined some serious holes in the national health-care system for mental health. 85% of those surveyed say mental health services are among the most underfunded services in our health-care system—and the majority agree that the Government should fund mental health at the same level as physical health.
While the paper calls for new legislation to bring mental health to the same level of attention as physical health, the reality is it’s just not there yet—with only 7.2 percent of Canada’s healthcare budget dedicated to mental health. The need for mental health services and support is growing, with over 1.6 million Canadians report unmet mental health care needs each year.
“Our universal health-care system is a point of pride for Canadians,” says Dr. Patrick Smith, national CEO, CMHA. “But the reality is, we don’t have a universal health-care system, but a universal medical system that doesn’t guarantee access to some of the most basic mental health services and supports.”
It’s clear Canadians aren’t getting the Mental Health help they need with 500 000 being unable to work due to mental health problems on any given week. Funding may not be the only problem, with some pointing to the stigma around mental health and mental illness as also adding to the issue.
On the bright side, many companies are stepping up to help fill the gap for underfunded Mental Health. For example, EY Canada covers 100% of mental health services for up to $5,000 for all of their employees. In filling the gap for underfunded mental health, It is also important to create a culture of acceptance and awareness towards mental health within a company. An Australian study found that every dollar invested in a workplace for mental health action resulted in 2.3 dollars in return by reducing absenteeism and long-term impacts. Investing in mental health benefits as a company is not only important and the right thing to do, but it can also help cost and productivity.
If you have questions about how your Health Care Benefits can help your employees with Mental Health feel free to reach out to Alex via the link below.
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