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Public Policy

The Canadian Mental Health Association is the only association in Canada that addresses all aspects of mental health and mental illness. We promote and advocate through strong connections we forge with policymakers, mental health consumers and their families, educators, the media, stakeholders and other service providers.
CMHA’s National office influences public policy at the federal level with a multi-faceted approach that includes strengthening our relationship with government officials and politicians. In addition, we focus on the ongoing submission of briefs and presentations to Standing Committees on Finance, Health, Human Resources Development, Justice and others.
CMHA Policy Statements articulate the general principles and recommendations relating to a particular issue which are endorsed by the CMHA.

May 1, 2006 Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada (Part II)

Over the past year, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has received more than two thousand submissions from all across Canada on the subject of mental health, mental illness and addiction. Hundreds of Canadians shared heartbreaking stories that revealed to the Committee the true state of Canada’s mental health, mental illness and addiction “system.” The members of the Committee have come to recognize the reality that profound change is essential if persons living with mental illness are to receive the help they need and to which they are entitled. We trust that readers of this report will reach the same conclusion.

March 1, 2006 Wait Time Benchmarks for Patients With Serious Psychiatric Illnesses

If waiting for health service in general is difficult, waiting for psychiatric service is especially trying. For most of us, the worry of “losing your mind” is the greatest fear of all. Receiving a timely consultation and the knowledge that help is on the way are an enormous boon. It is equivalent to the relief experienced when treatment finally begins for any other serious health condition. For this reason, the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) has identified appropriate clinical benchmarks for what the waiting time for psychiatric care should be. If clinicians do not establish appropriate targets themselves, then no service can be evaluated against good clinical criteria.

February 3, 2006 ‘Out of the Shadows’ Redux

In this paper, CMHA starts the discussion of bridging from Out of the Shadows to a national strategy by proposing components of a more coherent approach that uses the recovery vision in Out of the Shadows as a unifying thread to connect all the pieces, and develops a theoretical framework that distinguishes services and supports throughout the document, highlighting determinants of health and other community-based approaches (such as the role of NGOs) outside the realm of formal government services. We present these key recommendations, along with examples of related gaps in the Out of the Shadows report, and some specific suggestions for action.

February 1, 2006 Framework for Action on Mental Illness and Mental Health

Canada is the only advanced industrial country that does not have a national strategy or plan on mental health. As a result, people in Canada suffer unnecessary disability and mortality from mental illness, addictions, and poor mental health, and system costs continue to rise. One in five people in Canada experience mental illness and are dependent on support from their families, communities, the economy, and a stretched social service system. This paper explains why a national mental health strategy is urgently needed.

January 31, 2006 Home Care and Mental Health: From Policy to Action

In Toronto on January 29th – 31st, 2006, the CMHA National, the Canadian Association for Community Care and the Canadian Home Care Association, held a Policy Forum on Home Care and Mental Health.  This Forum brought together key stakeholders from governments, service providers, consumers of mental health services, families, health professionals and community-based organizations for discussions that will advance the policy agenda for mental health home care.

January 1, 2006 2006 Business and Economic Plan for Mental Health and Productivity

This 2006 discussion paper by the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health provides direction on how to implement a plan for dealing with mental illness when it manifests itself in the workplace.

September 15, 2005 Social Capital as a Public Policy Tool

Early in 2003, the Government of Canada’s Policy Research Initiative launched an interdepartmental project to investigate the relevance and usefulness of social capital as a public policy tool. This report presents a synthesis of the main conclusions and key insights learned during the course of this project. It also proposes some possible approaches for the use and integration of social capital in the Canadian policy (and research) agenda.

September 12, 2005 Statement of Common Agenda on Disability, Full Participation and Work

People living with disabilities have a right to participate fully and equally in Canadian society.

In Canada today, many people live with recurrent or episodic disabilities that are characterized by alternating periods of illness and wellness. As stated in the Government of Canada response to the 2003 report Listening to Canadians: A First View of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program: “recurrent and episodic disabilities are becoming more prevalent in Canadian society.”

There are many systemic and practical barriers which prevent people with episodic disabilities from participating in the labour force, in communities, and in society in a meaningful way.

April 30, 2005 Home Care and Mental Health: Web Discussion Analysis

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), National Office hosted a web discussion throughout March and April 2005 to promote a dialogue on mental health and home care: key issues and policy implications. The web discussion touched on many of the important elements to be considered in developing mental health and home care policies.

January 1, 2005 National Health Expenditure Trends (1975-2005)

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) tracks health spending by each source of finance in the National Health Expenditure Database (NHEX). This database contains a historical series of macro level health expenditure statistics by province and territory beginning in 1960. The Canadian Institute for Health Information assumed responsibility for the national health accounts, including the National Health Expenditure database, in 1995. National Health Expenditure Trends (1975–2005) is CIHI’s ninth annual health expenditure trends publication and provides detailed, updated information on health expenditure in Canada.