Today is World Mental Health Day 2021, and this post’s title is this year’s campaign slogan. Mental health conditions don’t get the same attention as physical health conditions, and there has been chronic underinvestment in mental health care for years. That needs to change.
According to the World Health Organization:
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Globally, it is estimated that 5% of adults suffer from depression.
- People with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia tend to die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.
- The lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
- For every US$ 1 invested in scaled-up treatment for depression and anxiety, there is a return of US$ 5.
To address this gap, politicians need to put more money into mental health services. There’s a strong economic case for investment, as well as a moral imperative. For World Mental Health Day, I would encourage you to write to your elected representatives and encourage them to invest in mental health services.
In Canada, the federal Liberal government committed during the recent election campaign to (source: Liberal Party of Canada):
- Establishing a new federal transfer – the Canada Mental Health Transfer – to provinces and territories to expand the delivery of high-quality, accessible and free mental health services
- Committing to permanent, ongoing funding for mental health services under the Canada Mental Health Transfer, with an initial investment of $4.5 billion over 5 years
If you’re a Canadian, you can find MP contact info here to let your member of parliament know that you expect them to follow through on the Liberal promise, or hold the Liberal government to account regarding that promise.
Today, I’ve contacted my representatives in federal parliament and the provincial legislature, as well as the provincial Minister of Mental Health.
Individual voices may not create change, but collectively, our voices can make a difference.