In any given year, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness. Mental illnesses affect people of all ages, education, religions, income levels, occupations, and cultures. Mental illness affects how a person deals with everyday life and interacts with other people.
Provincial and territorial governments need to improve services for persons suffering from mental illness. As mental illness varies in type and severity, several types of services are needed as listed below:
- emergency response units who understand psychotic disorders and can provide non-violent aid and comfort to people suffering a mental-health crisis (that is, to mitigate a situation over time rather than try to instantly control it),
- hospital emergency-ward mental-health services with trained mental-health psychiatrists and nurses for patients in acute psychiatric distress, recognizing that trained mental- health professionals may be needed in the evenings and overnight,
- hospital inpatient mental-health services for those who are acutely ill, who have additional physical illnesses or injuries, or who need oversight and evaluation during medication adjustment,
- hospital outpatient mental-health services for those requiring minor medication management and (or) group therapy,
- residential mental-health and behavioral-health treatment centres for people requiring longer term treatment for mental illness,
- community-based behavioral-health services such as group therapy, meditation, and individual counselling to help people deal with their illness,
- education programs to help mentally ill people understand their illness and to adjust undesirable behaviour or substance abuse caused by their illness, and to inform the public about mental illnesses, and
- telephone and online mental health services for persons who are housebound, need support in-between appointments, or live far from a hospital.
Governments should also make it easier for persons with limited financial resources to see psychologists or psychiatrists in private practice at their offices. Furthermore, governments should make it possible for persons to be partially reimbursed for the services of naturopathic services and meditation sessions that seem to be helping a person with mental illness. This can be done with financial assistance programs and tax provisions.
The federal government through its grants to universities and university faculty should encourage and support research on the causes and treatment of various types of mental health. Research should be funded on brain chemistry and functions, and on the relationship between mental illness and such factors as diet, exercise, and gut bacteria.
Please pray for those suffering from mental illness and those helping with their care. Pray for governmental and personal wisdom in dealing with people with mental health issues.