Private citizens and corporations do not solve the issue
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
The topic of mental health has been much-discussed lately—as it should be. Two high-profile celebrity suicides have contributed to a renewed discussion of the importance of mental health and speaking up. The stigma and misinformation surrounding mental health in our society is truly detrimental, and suicides are a tragic reminder.
Many of us do our part to speak up when the conversation rolls around again. We post the numbers of crisis hotlines, discuss frankly the statistics or our own struggles, and promise to be there for others who need help. Nevertheless, the rate of those with mental illness remains stagnant, and may even be increasing, and far too many people remain too afraid to seek help or simply don’t have access to the resources they need.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two go hand in hand. Even so, mental health is not taken nearly as seriously by those involved in health care. In Canada, the government pays (partially) for our visits with doctors. It does not pay nearly as much for counselors, psychologists, or other mental health professionals. It doesn’t pay for the prescriptions many need to regulate the chemical imbalances in their brains. Health Canada does not provide nearly the same amount of resources for mental heath as it does on physical ones.
It is the government’s responsibility to support its citizens in all matters of health care. It is not the individual’s responsibility to step in to help others fix the broken system. It isn’t fair that support centres and mental health organizations struggle to receive adequate funding. It’s wrong that we even have to have the discussion about mental health being important. It’s an injustice that private corporations like Bell have to run campaigns to fund these organizations because the government won’t do so.
The only way we can successfully make a difference in mental health care is to hold the government accountable. Mental health care needs to be funded and planned immediately. We deserve better from the health care system. Our health deserves better.