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. Kathleen Finlay makes the case for changes, like a 988 three-digit national mental health distress and suicide prevention lifeline, that can make a big difference. It’s part of her 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.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the media work and advocacy we’re doing in response to the COVID-19 challenge.
Protecting patients and families by advocating to ensure compliance with basic principles of patient safety and patient and family engagement in all phases of COVID-19 decision-making and that principles of transparency and accountability, essential to confidence in our healthcare systems, do not become casualties of the virus, too. This has been our mission from the beginning. It is all the more important during the current public health crisis.
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.
You can also follow our Tweets about COVID-19 here.
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.