In 1993 CMHA conducted a cross-Canada study of violence towards people with mental health problems. The study focused on people who had experienced violence after becoming consumers of mental health services. It identified that the homes, public places and hospitals are the places where violence is most often experienced by people with mental health problems, and that family members, mental health service consumers and service providers are those most likely to be violent towards them.
Social inequality has damaging consequences for the mental and emotional well-being of women. Throughout their lives, women may be considered “at risk” of developing emotional problems due to a host of social factors. Limited participation in public life, restricted decision-making, devalued role expectations, poverty, violence and sexual abuse undermine the potential for emotional well-being. Social change is needed to strengthen the emotional well-being of women individually and collectively in society.
The Canadian Mental Health Association believes that social inequality has damaging consequences for women’s mental well-being. Inequalities continue to exist for Canadian women with respect to family life, education, training, employment, and decision-making roles in society. Although a small proportion of women are benefiting from policies designed to increase access to professional occupations that command higher incomes, the vast majority of women remain in low-status, low-income jobs. So far, efforts toward implementing employment and pay equity policies have had little impact. Women continue to be over represented among the economically disadvantaged.
Access to mental health services is an issue that significantly impacts all Canadians, whether living with a mental illness or not. When the First Ministers convened this past February to discuss the long-term future of health care in Canada, improving access and quality of community mental health services was identified as one of eight priority areas. We believe the federal government has a critical role to play in facilitating federal/provincial/ territorial partnerships to begin to address many of the access barriers facing Canadians today.
Project IN4M is a three-phase research project, jointly funded by Health Canada and the Mental Health Commission. It’s overall goal is to improve the accessibility of high-quality mental-health services “through needs-based predictive modelling of health, social, education, criminal justice and private sector human resources – including informal caregivers.” Phase One, the subject of this report, examines possibilities for predictive modelling based on needs-based planning experiences in Canada and around the world.
Overall, Phase One of Project IN4M confirms that the potential exists to put in place a reliable, needs-based predictive model built around incidence and prevalence of mental health disorders and leading practices here in Canada and imported from other countries such as Australia. While the project confirms that mental health is, for the most part, a “data-free zone”, models exist for estimating the prevalence and incidence of some of the key mental health diagnoses and for better estimating the effective supply of the broader range of health and social service providers. We can also draw upon the lessons learned from the case studies conducted to refine our models around optimal mix of inputs to maximize health outcomes.
Project IN4M is a multi-sectoral project managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in association with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). This collaborative initiative proposes to explore the feasibility of taking needs-based human resources planning from theory to practice in the mental health domain. The MHCC sees a need for a predictive tool that would supplement its research agenda. Project IN4M is designed to produce a human resources planning tool that will be robust over time, across jurisdictions and across major diagnostic categories. The predictive tool would give governments, service providers and the public a better picture of what is needed in terms of human resource capacity for both formal and informal care-giving (including peer support and peer workers) to address the demand, both now and in the future, for mental health services.
In order to provide contextual qualitative information on the design and delivery of needs-based planning models, the Project IN4M team conducted four case studies of existing approaches to planning human resources. Case studies for the purpose of this project are a study of a unit, such as an organization, that stresses factors contributing to its success or improvement. These studies are highlighted as an exemplar, cautionary model or instructive/illustrative example. The Health Canada approved IN4M project plan provided for three case studies, but to provide additional insights, an additional case was added.
During August and September 2010, IN4M staff surveyed experts on existing planning models and to determine strategies to deal with the current lack of data; these strategies included a discussion of the use of data proxies – facts, figures or criteria. The survey results will form the basis for a national roundtable of policy-makers from a variety of sectors (including education, criminal justice, social services, health, private sector, private practice, informal caregivers and NGOs) in November 2010. The invitational roundtable will consider the results of an environmental scan, a review of peer-reviewed and grey literature, and these results to give expert advice on the development of a needs-based model for mental health human resources for Canada, and its provinces and territories.
In this 2009 submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the Canadian Mental Health Association advocates that income support and other measures to prevent and reduce poverty can play several roles with regard to mental illness and mental health. We have attempted to mainstream our advocacy to cover three areas of importance to the planning and configuring of the upcoming federal budget. These areas cover modifications to the National Child Benefit Supplement, Canada Social Transfer, and development of Basic Income Support Programs for persons living with mental illness and other disabilities. We believe that our recommendations are realistic and realizable, and that they have the potential to promote mental health and wellness, and optimize psychological, social, civic, and economic functioning.