Canada’s mental health system needs radical surgery, from how it responds to 911 calls about emotional crisis in the streets to its antiquated policies on preventing suicide. As part of its advocacy to strengthen the delivery of mental health and suicide prevention services in Canada, Kathleen Finlay has been publicly making the case for innovations, like a new 988 three-digit mental health distress and suicide prevention lifeline that can make a big difference. It’s part of our series on building a 21st century approach to mental health.
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The Center for Patient Protection was the first to call on the federal government to include mental health support in its strategic response to the COVID-19 crisis. We vigorously advocated for that action in interviews, newspaper columns and in social media over several weeks.
Within days of publishing these columns, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the creation of a mental health portal as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 strategy. We will have more to say about the government’s approach to mental health soon.
After weeks of advocacy by The Center for Patient Protection on CBC National News, CTV News, in newspaper columns and on social media, the government of New Brunswick became the first province to eliminate the 30-day limit on prescription medication, which had been costing customers 3 times more in dispensing fees. In addition to the financial burden, these price hikes have been a cause of considerable emotional harm and stress to vulnerable patients at this difficult time.
~Protecting the most vulnerable by ensuring that the federal government treats the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of Canadians with the attention it deserves.
~Protecting seniors and our elderly, who are at the highest risk of serious health outcomes from the virus.
~Protecting from the risk of suicide, heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Campaign to Save Lives: A re-imagined approach to preventing suicide. A 988 hotline that can be a life ring. Visit the new site of our 988 Campaign for Canada.
See Kathleen Finlay’s interview on CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme
See complete interview and story
Suicide is becoming an epidemic among some population groups in Canada. Victims of gender-based violence and bullying are especially at risk, as are members of our indigenous communities. We call for a new approach and fresh thinking to address this public health crisis, including the creation of a national three-digit 988 suicide prevention hotline network.