The high prevalence of mental illnesses in Canada is a pervasive concern in Canada. Every year, many new cases of psychological illnesses are reported. Statistics from the Canadian ministry of health indicate that at least one out of five people experience mental health problems annually. In principle, the mental disorder affects an individuals cognitive abilities, thinking behavior and mood. These characteristic changes that often accompany mental illnesses have adverse effects not only on the daily life of the affected person but also the economic development of the entire country. For instance, other proximate disorders resulting from psychological illness include general anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and substance use disorder (Austin, Boyd, & Austin, 2010). Canada has developed various strategies to control the effects of the situation through policy formulation, inter-ministerial coordination, and collaboration with relevant health agencies.
The Prevalence and Burdens of Mental Disorders in Canada
Mental health is a critical need for every community since it determines the nature of socio-political and economic developments and associations which are primary factors in a holistic community. There are various definitions of mental illness with some descriptions being more encompassing than others. According to the World Health Organization, mental health a condition of sound physical, mental, and social well-being (Fierlbeck, 2011). In essence, the WHO definitions do not confine mental illness to the mere absence of disease or infirmity. Canada has one of the most elaborate description of mental health due to its associated challenges that he faces. The definition adopted by the Canadian Public Health Agency of Canada is holistic (Fierlbeck, 2011). It describes mental health as the capacity of every person to feel, think, and act in ways that make it possible for them to draw the best experience in life and overcome the challenges therein. In essence, the agency contends that mental health confers a definite sense of not only emotional but also spiritual well-being that is responsive to cultural dictates, social justice and equity and interconnections among human beings.
Canada is one of the countries in the world with a high number of mental illness cases in the recent times. In Canada, one in every five adults, which translate to 23 percent (45 million people) is projected to be predisposed to mental illness in their life throughout Canada. Among the disorders associated with mental illness, research shows that depression and anxiety are the most prevalent and severe in Canada (Davis, 2013). Approximately 25 million Canadian adults who are 10% of the population of 18 years and above will have a depressive disorder.
The prevailing incidences of mental illness show that the development in the Canada would be significantly affected by mental illness. Statistics show that in the next forty years, Canada will have a demographic situation characterized by one in every two people who has suffered a mental illness disorder or having an ongoing problem of a mental illness disorder. Notably, Canada's young population comprises mainly of school-going children. 14 percent of high school students record dangerous levels of psychological distress with 34% of them indicating a moderate to a severe level of mental stress (Fierlbeck, 2011). Psychological distress is one of the significant symptoms of depression and anxiety common among the Canadian population.
The most affected age strata in Canada is the young population. This disparity in mental illness among the young people is because approximately 70 % of many mental health disorders have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Psychological and mental health studies show that most peers are likely to experience substance use disorder or mental illness problem within the age between 15 to 24 years due to experimenting drug abuse. Additionally, the case of mental illness about gender is one sided as the likelihood is higher for men than women. This trend in gender effects of mental illness is driven by the fact that most males suffer from substances addiction than women yet drug is a primary cause of mental disorder (Davis, 2013). People with substance use abuse and the majority of the countrys population fall under this category hence have up to three times likelihood to contract a mental illness disorder. The studies in the different Canadian cities reveal that the majority of people with mental illness disorders that occur simultaneously with the substance use problem are likely to be the low-income earners. Low-income earners are approximately four times more likely to experience episodes of mental disorder.
Mental illness is one of the leading of cause of disability, suffering and eventual death in Canada. The majority of people with addiction and mental illness have a high likelihood of dying prematurely than the general population (Austin, Boyd, & Austin, 2010). Therefore, mental illness is capable of reducing ones life expectancy by 10 to 20 years. Comparing some of the major city in Canada the burden of mental illness in Ontario, for example, is 15 times higher than all cancer put together and more than seven times that of all infectious diseases, this also include other factors such as year lived and lost to early death.
Policies, Plans, and Legislation Relevant To Mental Health in Canada
Mental illnesses being a social issue as it affects people in every occupation, race, cultures, social-economic status, and education. As a result, the effects of the disorder to the analytic elements of sociology, the victims face discrimination because of race, age, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. The adverse effects of mental illness in virtually every sector of the economy have triggered the involvement of the Canadian Human rights commission in its management (Davis, 2013). The Canadian human right Act has far-reaching effects and impacts on mental health since the commission regulates and mitigate mental illnesses by formulating favorable policies, strategic plans and frameworks (Davis, 2013). The Canadian Mental Health Association is the only organization in Canada mandated to address all of the mental illness and mental health.
The issue of mental health is complex and cuts across federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions in Canada. The Canadian Constitution Act of 1867 gives an exclusive mandate to the federal government of Canada under Section 91 and assigns provincial administrations roles under section 92. Various roles assigned to the Federal Government of Canada by the constitution has critical imperatives on mental health (Patel & Woodward, 2010). For example, the federal government has the mandate over criminal cases involving mentally ill offenders. The parliament legislates issues related to mental illness such as assessment of the mental fitness of an accused to stand trial as implied in the Criminal Code. It uses Controlled Drugs, and Substances Act to regulate narcotics and other drugs that often contribute to mental impairments and compels mental health assessment and treatment for the youth convicted of some offences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is another critical institution that deals with the issues of mental incapacitation. The commission released a publication called Changing Direction, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. This document identified six strategic approaches to be used in improving Canadas mental health care system. These six-point approaches included:
Promoting psychological health throughout everyones lifetime in their homes, schools, and workplaces, and preventing mental illness and suicide as much as possible.
Enhance the recovery, rights, and wellbeing of people living with mental illness and their wellbeing at all ages
Provision of access to an efficient system of services, treatments, and supports for the mentally ill.
Minimize the existing disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services. It also advocates for enhancement of the resilience of communities to mental illness causations.
Mobilize administrations at all levels to ensure public sensitization and foster collaboration throughout the nation.
Some of the key policies and laws that have so far been made to solve the problem of mental illness in Canada include The Ontario Mental Health Act, 1990 alongside some of the requests made by the psychiatric consultation called The Community Treatment Orders (CTOs). Some of the CTOs include Form 1 that is always used by the physician to ask for a psychiatric consultation on a patient considered to be suffering from a mental impairment (Fierlbeck, 2011). Another CTO is the form 2. This form allows the doctors to demand a psychiatric assessment for a person who is in danger of self-harm. The doctors use Form 3 to order an involuntary admission of mentally ill patients to any psychiatric facility. Finally, Form 4 mandates renewal of an inventory service (Eaton, & Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 2012).
Precisely, Ontarios Mental Health Act is a relatively brief document that defines categories of the psychiatric institution (sections 1and 2). The legislation covers the legal right of patients undergoing psychotherapy and highlights the people responsible for taking care of them. The report also describes and includes the procedure for enquiring the consent of treatments before being subjected to any form of psychiatric treatment.
Since mental illness has become a big issue in Canada, the government through its legislature has formulated and passed various responsive bills to reinforce their agenda concerning mental health. Most of the laws govern key areas that and issues that are the primary propagators for mental illness. The legislations also focus on sectors of the countrys economy that thus reducing the cases related to the prevalence of mental disorders such as indulgence in strong drugs such as bhang or cocaine (Fierlbeck, 2011). For instance, the Canadian Senate committee on social affairs, science, and technology deliberate continuously on many mental illnesses, mental health, and addiction submissions from all over the corners of Canada.
The heartbreaking stories from thousands of Canadians have moved the committee and legislature thus prompting them to formulate on laws and strategies such as addiction service in Canada, the out of the shadow redux strategy, and the framework action of mental illness and mental health. The committee has also developed strategies such as the Federal Budget Initiative which enhances the economic basis of mental health by advocating for income support and other measures to prevent or reduce poverty. Perceptions inform the use of economic empowerment as a strategy for reducing mental illness and ensuring sustainable mental health. The Federal Budget Initiative has attempted to mainstream its advocacy to cover three areas of importance to the planning and configuring of the upcoming federal budget (In Kaakinen et al., 2015). These areas include infusion of changes 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.
A proposal to establish and uphold a national health human resources infrastructure fund was written to facilitate The Resource Fund Act of 1966. Finally, on policies, laws, and strategies, the Canadian government enacted The Law As It Affects Older Adults as well as Poverty Reduction. These are critical components of the Federal Governments Mental Health Strategy for Canadians. The research cond...
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