The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends five broad areas on which the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology should move forward: developing and implementing a pan-Canadian national strategy on mental Illness/mental health; responding to the Premiers’ Council’s commitment to community mental health; ensuring that children and youth, aboriginals, women, and new immigrants are included in the national strategy; ensuring that suicide is addressed as part of the national strategy; and committing to increasing the capacity of the voluntary sector in the mental health community to participate in public policy development.
The purpose of the Workshop on Suicide-Related Research in Canada, held in Montreal February 7-8, 2003, was to develop a national, collaborative agenda on research related to suicide in Canada. This workshop brought together 43 practitioners, researchers and representatives of non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal communities, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Canada for an exploratory consultation focused on the development of a national agenda on research focused on both suicide and suicide-related behaviour.
The implications of a growing population of seniors and a growing home care sector are significant for health care policy generally, but also for mental health policy specifically. In the research conducted for this guide, key stakeholders across Canada were emphatic regarding the need for a holistic model of care – incorporating both medical and psychosocial supports – to meet the needs of seniors today and in the future. The research also demonstrated that there is considerable potential for home care to play a greater role in implementing such a model, and in doing so, support the mental health and well-being of seniors in Canada.
An interesting report from the Bazeton Centre for Mental Health Law in the U.S. which looks at federal policy-level solutions to the problem of the criminalization of people with mental illness. The report recommends the development of policies to ensure that people with serious mental illnesses are connected with appropriate community agencies as they are released and are enrolled in the federal entitlement programs that are specifically designed to provide the supports they need: federal disability payment programs and health coverage through Medicaid and Medicare.
A brief explanation of the concept of social capital and its impact on health and well-being, from the Community Life Organization, an Australian community-based suicide prevention organization.
Canada has a long tradition of opening its doors to people from all over the world. Since the second world war, significant demographic changes have occurred in this country. Since the 1970′s, the Canadian immigrant population has shifted from mainly European immigration to people from Asia and Africa. The immigrants and refugees arriving in Canada face many barriers to an easy adjustment to Canadian society. The challenge of learning a new language and socio-economic and legal issues make the task of starting a new life in Canada a daunting one. As our population becomes more diverse, the services we provide have to be relevant and accessible to all the people in our community. In addition, as the population changes, the ways in which we provide services must also change. For instance, in order to provide good mental health services, the services need to become culturally sensitive and appropriate.
A home is the base from which we have the security to build our lives as we choose. We should be able to choose where to live, whom to see, and how to behave in our home. In our home we should have the privacy to reflect and relax in peace. We should have the autonomy to decorate and maintain our home as we see fit. Our home is the focus of our social network. These are all arguably essential prerequisites of mental health and well-being. They should be seen as necessary components of housing programs, not as privileges to which people “graduate.” Security, choice autonomy, financial self-sufficiency, privacy, and control are all part of the healing process. They should never be denied people, except at times of extreme risk to self or others.
Individuals need support from the community to assume greater control over their own lives, and to utilize the resources within their natural environment. Equally important is the deepening and strengthening of the community’s capacity to respond to people who have previously been rejected.